Erdoğan ally Bahçeli backtracks on amnesty bill proposal

The leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has placed an amnesty proposal on hold citing exploitation of the matter in the MHP’s alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"I would like to express that we have placed on hold our proposal dated Sept. 24, 2018, in order to avoid opposition and disagreeableness under the banner of the People’s Alliance, and prevent the exploitation of the matter,’’ news site Artı Gerçek quoted Devlet Bahçeli as saying on Wednesday.

The proposal for the general amnesty bill has long placed the ally parties at odds with AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remaining aloof to the idea.

Erdoğan and Bahçeli formed an alliance after a failed coup attempt in 2016. Their alliance was formalised when the two parties made up what they called a People’s Alliance ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections of June 2018.

The bill calls for the release of non-political prisoners to relieve pressure on Turkey’s overcrowded jails. Tens of thousands of prisoners, including those behind bars for drug-related crimes and sexual assault, are expected to be freed under the proposal.