Turkey's ruling AKP, MHP to start talks over alliance for local polls

Turkey's ruling AKP, MHP to start talks over alliance for local polls

Turkeys ruling AKP, MHP to start talks over alliance for local polls

Top officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said late Sept. 25 that the two sides will start talks over a possible election alliance in the nation’s upcoming local elections. 

After a meeting in the capital Ankara with MHP deputy chair Sadir Durmaz to discuss the matter, AKP deputy chair Mehmet Özhaseki told state-run Anadolu Agency that they will start talks over an election alliance.

“The talks will continue between the delegations of both sides after our president returns” from trips abroad, said Özhaseki, adding that the talks held on Sept. 25 were not detailed.

He added that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli as soon as possible after he returns from his visits to the U.S. and Germany.

Durmaz also told state-run Anadolu Agency that he and Özhaseki declared the intention to continue the alliance between the two parties in the local elections.

“We agreed to continue talks,” Durmaz said.

Local elections are set to be held in March 2019 across Turkey.

The alliance between the AKP and the MHP was formed this February ahead of the June general elections and has continued over some issues after the polls.

AKP to ‘carefully examine’ MHP’s partial amnesty bill proposal

Meanwhile, a senior AKP official said his ruling party cannot ignore a proposal by the MHP for partial amnesty for certain crimes.

“We will carefully evaluate the proposal and make a decision on the issue after President Erdoğan returns to Turkey,” AKP deputy leader Hayati Yazıcı said yesterday in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk.

The MHP submitted Sept. 24 a draft bill seeking amnesty for some prisoners to the parliament speaker’s office, with party officials saying a total of 162,989 prisoners would “benefit” from the amnesty.

Crimes committed before May 19 will be subject to one-off five-year conditional reduced sentences, MHP officials said, adding those who committed crimes against the state, along with terrorism, sexual abuse, and murder convicts will not benefit from the bill.

“It is a very complicated issue,” said Yazıcı. “It should be carefully evaluated without any ulterior motives, taking into account its effects on the society, on the fight against crime, on the judiciary and on the perception of justice.”

The MHP has long called for granting pardons for some prisoners, mounting its calls and vowing to bring it to the country’s agenda during election campaigns ahead of the June polls, which it entered in alliance with the AKP. But the AKP at the time had said it did not have the issue on its agenda.

On Sept. 23, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said their principle was to grant amnesty only to convicts who committed crimes against the state, saying crimes against individuals cannot be subject to amnesty. He said they would discuss the bill if submitted to parliament by the MHP.