Turkey’s MHP leader ready to ‘strip terrorist sympathizers of citizenship’

Turkey’s MHP leader ready to ‘strip terrorist sympathizers of citizenship’

Turkey’s MHP leader ready to ‘strip terrorist sympathizers of citizenship’

DHA photo

The embattled leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, has expressed support for stripping “terrorist sympathizers” of their citizenship, a proposal voiced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while he also criticized a German comedian who read out a crude poem about Erdoğan on German TV for “insulting” the president.

Speaking at a parliamentary group meeting of his party on April 19, Bahçeli called on both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to get on with lifting the legislative immunity of “separatist” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies.

Bahçeli, who faces a challenge to his leadership of the MHP at an extraordinary congress next month, said HDP deputies could even be punished by stripping them of citizenship.

“Let’s pursue this without stopping, right to the end. Let’s strip anyone who has become a courier of terrorism, or a militant and tool of the terrorist organization, of their Turkish citizenship,” he said.

During a speech on April 5, Erdoğan had lashed out at those academics, journalists, politicians and civil servants who he said support terror groups, saying the country does “not have to carry anyone who is involved in treason against the state and the nation.”

“We have to be determined to take all measures, including revoking citizenship, in order to eliminate supporters of the terrorist group. They cannot even be our citizens,” said Erdoğan. 

His remarks were followed by statements from Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who vowed that the “required work would be done to this end.”

‘Turkish-Islamic morality’

Bahçeli also echoed the government’s line on the issue of German comedian Jan Böhmermann, whose poem about President Erdoğan has unleashed a bitter row about freedom of speech after Ankara requested to prosecute him for “insulting” a foreign leader. 

The MHP leader said Böhmermann not only insulted “the president,” but also “despicably attacked the Republic of Turkey and Turkishness.”

“No human being can be humiliated and no nation can be rudely despised in the name of laughing. His devilish words and poem may be greeted positively in his own culture and society and there may even be those who burst into laughter. But such an understanding of humor and such degenerateness will never be permitted in Turkish-Islamic morality,” Bahçeli said.