PM seeks to expand party with new merger

PM seeks to expand party with new merger

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM seeks to expand party with new merger

Numan Kurtulmuş, the leader of the conservative People’s Voice Party, meets with Prime Minister Erdoğan to discuss a possible merger with governing party. AA photo

Following long-held speculation that Numan Kurtulmuş, leader of the conservative People’s Voice Party (HSP), was on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s mind as a possible successor, Erdoğan personally put the idea of merging the parties under the umbrella of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) to Kurtulmuş yesterday.

Yesterday Kurtulmuş visited Erdoğan for an almost one-and-a-half-hour meeting at the prime minister’s residence upon the latter’s invitation.

“We have today received Mr. Prime Minister’s proposal, an invitation about the merging of the HAS Party [HSP] and the AK Party [AKP]. We have exchanged views on the issue,” Kurtulmuş told reporters following the meeting.

Executive decision

Noting that Erdoğan said he would take the issue to AKP’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), Kurtulmuş added: “He [Erdoğan] said that he would explain [at the MKYK] that a joining of forces and a struggle together on the issue of building a new Turkey will be appropriate.”Kurtulmuş said he would also take the issue to the Central Executive Board (MYK) of his party. The meeting was not over when the Hürriyet Daily News went into print.

The HSP was formed by Kurtulmuş shortly after he broke from the Felicity Party (SP) in October 2010. Erdoğan once belonged to SP, the flag-bearer of the conservative “National View” movement, before forming the AKP.

A group of HSP executive members have voiced their objections to the prospect of joining the AKP. Mehmet Bekaroğlu, a former member of Parliament and now the head of the Istanbul chamber of HSP, was among those members. On his Twitter account Bekaroğlu announced yesterday that he would hold a press conference on the issue today.“As a matter of fact, everyone knows my stance on the issue. I told [Kurtulmuş] that he is wrong,” Bekaroğlu tweeted. “I bid farewell to him personally.”
Bekaroğlu released a written statement last week about the recent rumors regarding Kurtulmuş’s transfer to the AKP. He then stated that although neither Kurtulmuş nor other party members had made statements about the stories related to Kurtulmuş’s possible transfer to the AKP, some AKP members continued to speak in a manner that offended HSP members.

“Amid all these speculations and the statement by the spokesman of the ruling party [AKP] that the request for transfer was made by our party, we expect an explanation from our chair. This explanation is necessary and must be made publicly,” Bekaroğlu said.

HAS Parti,