Turkey's main nationalist party MHP takes on gov’t with economy focus

Turkey's main nationalist party MHP takes on gov’t with economy focus

Turkeys main nationalist party MHP takes on gov’t with economy focus


Turkey’s main nationalist opposition party has joined an ongoing competition on the political stage, announcing an election manifesto that focused on the economy, much like other parties.

While announcing his party’s election manifesto on May 3, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also attacked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warning him over the gloomy fate of his political career.

“Erdoğan has paralyzed the functions of the state and ruined the rule of law. He has committed constitutional crimes over and over; he has abused his office and neglected it numerous times. Erdoğan has now gone down the path of no return,” Bahçeli said, addressing party delegates and members who gathered at the Arena Sports Complex for the announcement of the manifesto.

“At the end of this path, he will either be an elected tyrant by establishing a state of fear which is separated, is broken into pieces and which is shared, or he will – with the law coming into play – end up before the Supreme Council on charges of treason,” Bahçeli said.

The Supreme Council is the name the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary.

“Walk With Us Turkey,” was the primary slogan that was written on placards at the hall where the MHP supporters gathered.

As he listed concrete pledges particularly addressing low-income earners, as well as the middle class, Bahçeli followed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP), which have already announced election manifestos dominated by economy-focused promises.

Taxes on diesel and fertilizer will be lifted if the MHP comes to power after the June 7 parliamentary election, Bahçeli said.

“Let everybody hear that price of [one liter of] diesel, which hurts our farmers, will be 1 lira and 75 kuruş,” he said.

“I emphasize that we will raise the net minimum wage to 1,400 liras. We will provide 100 liras of urban travel grant for minimum wage workers working in metropolitan cities every month,” he added.

As recently as May 2, AKP leader Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu locked horns over the economy, with the minimum wage being a key theme.

The squabble between the two took place at the 71st general assembly of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara as they both delivered speeches.

Davutoğlu accused the main opposition of resorting to “populism” with ambitious electoral promises, while Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the government for “conscienceless growth.”

Davutoğlu focused his criticism against the CHP’s promise to raise the minimum wage, while vowing that the government would not respond by hiking public spending before the elections to attract votes.

“Other than us, all parties that have an assertion had already let the chips fall where they may,” Bahçeli said.

“All of them have shared with the public their statements and promises that are not so different from each other. As a requirement of political tactics and detailed planning, the MHP preferred to be the last one to announce its manifesto,” Bahçeli said.

The MHP did so, because in past years, the AKP had “stolen” goals and policies that were shared with the public by the MHP, he said.

Other than economic promises, the government-led resolution process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was also a key theme in Bahçeli’s speech, as he harshly attacked the government for the initiative.

Following the announcement of the manifesto, Bahçeli will kick off election rallies in the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı on May 6. Following Çankırı, he is expected to hold rallies in 60 different provinces.