Turkey decides

As voters get ready to go to the polls for the second time this year, Turkey’s nationalists hope they can retain strong position

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli addressing crowed in Osmaniye

With less than 48 hours until Turkish voters cast their ballots for a second time this year, the leader of the MHP travelled to his hometown.

Osmaniye, in southern Turkey, is a conservative town known for its peanuts and ancient ruins.

And it’s also the sole province in Turkey where the far-right makes the majority of the votes.

Devlet Bahceli, 67, has been at the helm of Turkey’s nationalist MHP for 18 years.

Devlet Bahceli, who’s known for his animosity towards the media, has given two TV interviews this week.

During both shows on private channels, he dismissed the question about his party’s struggle with internal divisions calling the resignation of 150 members “minor problems”.

He also said this ‘exodus’ will only reinforce the party’s vision since those who don't agree with it “will just go”.

Devlet Bahceli speaks on Turkish TV

Devlet Bahceli also spoke about his readiness to join a coalition with either the Justice and Development Party (AKP) or the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

He said as long as either party respects MHP’s “four conditions”, the nationalists will cooperate.

MHP flags in central Ankara show, from left to right, party founder Alparslan Turkes, Turkey’s first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Devlet Bahceli

The Nationalist Movement Party’s so called “four conditions” include no amendments to the first four articles of the Turkish constitution; the continuation of the fight against the PKK until the group disarms as well as an end to the now collapsed peace process for good.

The MHP also wants the 2013 corruption case that involves members of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s previous government - and the Turkish President himself - reopened and the defendants tried.

Headquarters of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party in Ankara

Devlet Bahceli knows the MHP will not make enough votes to govern alone, but all polls suggest the party will clear the threshold of 10% of the vote and gain parliament seats once again.

Whether or not that means the nationalists will manage to secure their position as kingmakers on Sunday is anyone’s guess.

Author: Anelise Borges