Women will hear my message with new party: Former MHP lawmaker Akşener
ANKARAMeral Akşener, a former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker who is currently in the preparations of setting up a new nationalist party, has said experiences she went through as a woman being smeared by allegations while leading a dissident movement would resonate with many women.
“I have experienced heavy slander. But something happened to me. Women would understand me. I have lost my feeling of pain, fear or worry. Now the other side can be worried. I am prepared for everything. If there is death, I am prepared. Because it was a very big trauma,” Akşener said in an interview with private broadcaster Fox TV on Sept. 19.
“I am not keen on dwelling on such victimhood discourses, but women would understand me, it was very heavy and it continued afterwards,” she said.
“Such traumas create masses that have faced injustice and seen the law be destructed,” she said.
Akşener, along with former MHP lawmakers Ümit Özdağ and Sinan Oğan, was dismissed from the party following a frustrated attempt to hold an extraordinary congress to challenge long-time MHP head Devlet Bahçeli in 2016.
Several MHP lawmakers resigned or were dismissed while the MHP formed an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in favor of a constitutional amendment granting sweeping powers to the president, which narrowly passed in a referendum vote in April. Local MHP branches across the country have also seen a series of resignations in recent months.
Akşener led a campaign against the changes shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, prompting her to announce plans of forming a new party.
Her efforts were stalled by AKP officials, who have accused her of being a member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), while Parliament Speaker İbrahim Kahraman sued her on such accusations.
Akşener blasted the criticisms on Sept. 19, saying that “if you look at whoever calls me a FETÖ member, you see that person or their relatives are FETÖ officials.”
“I dare you; if I have any relations, come and arrest me,” she said.
“The honorable president cannot carry out this struggle [against FETÖ]. I will clean up the FETÖ mess,” she vowed.
New party to be launched in October
Akşener announced the new political party is planned to be established in mid-October.
“If we can finish the work by Oct. 15, 16 or 17, we will launch the party in our capital Ankara,” she said.
She said that in the event in October, the party will introduce its founding committee and program.
“We have worked to ensure that many women, our skilled women friends, will take part in the decision-making mechanisms of the founding committee and party management. And many of them who represent all segments of the society have decided to work with us in our party,” she said.
Akşener said the party will adopt a political identity that can be described as “Turkey’s party,” adding that the program will focus on “welfare state principles,” where “health, education, foreign policy and economics will cover social rights.”
The name of the new party is yet to be decided, Akşener added, noting that there are “over 30 different alternatives” being considered for the name.
After former MHP lawmaker Koray Aydın announced on Aug. 23 that Akşener will stand as a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, she said work would begin only after the new party is established.
“My friends want this but what is essential here is what is in the hearts of people. We will look at that. Let us see our party established and then we will start working,” she said.