Turkey’s Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party Ahmet Davutoglu visited officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in their party headquarters in Ankara for early coalition negotiations on Wednesday.
Invited to form a new government by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, Davutoglu conducted two meetings over early coalition negotiations this week, one of them with the secular Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) on Monday and the second meeting with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Tuesday.
Davutoglu was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, Minister of Agriculture Mehdi Eker, previous Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Adiyaman deputy Adnan Boynukara and Erzurum deputy Zehra Taskesenlioglu.
The HDP committee consisted of the party’s co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, group deputy chairmen Idris Baluken and Pervin Buldan, Ankara deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder and member of the party’s central executive committee Zeynep Karaman.
The early coalition negotiation meeting with the HDP committee took two hours, making it the longest negotiation meeting with any of Turkey’s opposition parties.
The first round of the coalition negotiations was completed with this meeting.
The HDP committee responded to Davutoglu’s gift of chocolate by presenting a copper coffee set from Diyarbakir.
Davutoglu expressed gratitude towards MHP for his meeting with the party on Tuesday by saying “the atmosphere was sincere and amiable,” in a press statement after the meeting.
“Mr. Bahceli repeated that they [MHP] would not take part in a coalition government and would prefer to have a role in opposition to a newly formed government, a position which they have stated since the June 7 elections” Davutoglu said.
Underlying their stance since the elections, Davutoglu strongly emphasised that his party would stay at a similar distance from all parties until they sign an agreement with one of the parties for official negotiations.
“Within this context, it is possible that we will organise a second meeting with Bahceli if necessary,” Davutoglu said.
MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli issued a written press statement after the meeting explaining his party’s stance.
“With the June 7 elections, the one-party government period of AK Party ended. A new period has started in Turkish politics. In this new period, establishing a coalition government between parties with similar ideologies is a necessity and is important,” Bahceli said.
“There is no need to speculate at this point. A coalition government between the AK Party and HDP or the AK Party and CHP or - if these do not fit the bill - a coalition between the AK Party, CHP and HDP could emerge in line with the results of the elections,” Bahceli stated.
As a last remark, Bahceli restated a list of demands from the MHP consisting of four main points for a coalition to be formed involving the party.
The demands are the proscription of the outlawed PKK, a review of AK Party policies during the one-party government period, national peace and unity, and fighting bribery and corruption at every level of the government.
“We are ready to take responsibility if a government cannot be formed so long as our four points are accepted and respected,” Bahceli said.