Turkey's MHP shuns CHP’s offer, winks at AKP for coalition
MHP leiader Devlet Bahçeli addresses the press. DHA photoThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has turned down the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader’s offer of the prime ministry in a coalition government by underlining that the current parliamentary composition necessitated a government involving the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Every political party wants to be in power as every chairmen wants to be prime minister. But Mr. [Devlet] Bahçeli has a very unique character. He says ‘first my country and people, and then my party and me.’ The prime ministry is secondary for him. He can continue to serve his country without being prime minister. Therefore it’s not possible for him to give up of his principles for the prime ministry,” Yusuf Halaçoğlu, deputy parliamentary group leader of the MHP, told reporters June 19. “It is clear that this won’t happen,” he said, closing the doors on a CHP-MHP government.
“If you look at the election results, you see that the people voted for the AKP and gave it 258 lawmakers. But it deprived it of a government. The people said, ‘You can’t form the government on your own.’ But there are no coalition alternative that exclude the AKP,” MHP deputy head Mevlüt Karakaya told BBC Turkish on June 18.
Halaçoğlu’s response came after CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu offered the seat of prime minister to Bahçeli in a bid to convince the nationalist leader to form a coalition government with the CHP even though the social democratic party has more seats than the MHP in parliament. “Let’s form a government together. Be the prime minister of that government,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, addressing Bahçeli late June 18 in an interview with daily Hürriyet.
A potential CHP-MHP coalition would require the backing of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) to receive a vote of confidence. Bahçeli, however, has said his party will never participate in a political formation that directly or indirectly includes the HDP. “I made this call. There is nothing much to say more. The priority is Turkey. I made this call as I am thinking of Turkey’s interests,” he told reporters June 19.
In his interview with Hürriyet, Kılıçdaroğlu said “Turkey has a whole lot of problems. They need to be resolved. Politics is the art of creating solutions,” in his most direct call to Bahçeli to pursue a government without the involvement of the AKP. Recalling that the CHP, MHP and HDP made similar promises to the people, Kılıçdaroğlu said they could perfectly move forward together to fulfill the promises.
Fight against corruption a priority
“One of our principles is the fight against corruption. The government should also fight against it. Mr. Prime Minister [Ahmet Davutoğlu] calls on us to put our axes on the ground. We never had axes in our hands. But if he sees the Dec. 17 and 25 [corruption] cases as axes, then he is making a mistake,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to massive corruption and graft allegations made against senior AKP officials, including four former ministers, in late 2013.
Recalling that there had been no effective investigation into the corruption allegations, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “We would be respectful if there were a sound prosecution. The [AKP] government should exert efforts to be acquitted of these allegations. While on the one hand you will say, ‘I will cut off the arm of the thief, even if he is my brother,’ but on the other, you will refuse to reopen these files.”
The CHP leader said they would not hesitate to go back to an election, adding that going to snap polls would mean that political leaders would have failed to fulfill their duties and establish a government in line with the people’s will. “The people gave an assignment to the leaders of the political parties on June 7. We should assess this. We all have to compromise,” he said.
One of the other problems confronting the formation of a coalition government is the opposition parties’ criticisms toward President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s direct intervention in politics and governmental affairs even though he theoretically must remain impartial. “We have no personal enmity against Tayyip Erdoğan. What we say is that everybody should stay within the law. If he agrees to do so, then we will have no problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
No gov’t without AKP: MHP
As Kılıçdaroğlu’s proposal was rejected, the MHP made clear that there can be no government without the involvement of the AKP, given that it is the largest party in the new parliament.
Karakaya’s statement is another sign that the nationalist party is closing the doors on a potential partnership with the CHP, which would require outside support from the HDP.
However, he also suggested that the AKP could still form a government with either the CHP or the HDP, as all three are in favor of the continuation of the Kurdish peace process. One of the MHP’s most important conditions for forming a government with the AKP is the termination of the peace process, while another condition is the return of Erdoğan to within his constitutional boundaries.
“If they do not meet these conditions, then the responsibility for the failure to form a government would be on the AKP’s shoulders. The AKP would face a huge disaster in snap elections if it was the reason for a failure to form a government. They are aware of this, so I think they will find a middle way going forward. They have to do it,” Karakaya said.
He also claimed that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was in favor of forming a government with the MHP, which is how he could escape the “tutelage” imposed on him by Erdoğan.