Centre right opposition leader Akşener rejects call to join ruling alliance

Meral Akşener, Turkey’s former Interior Minister and current leader of the centre-right opposition Good Party, said she would not join the ruling alliance under any circumstances during a televised interview on Friday.

“It is not possible for us to join the Cumhur (“People's”) Alliance under the executive presidential system,” Akşener said, “not even if they put a gun to my head.”

The leader of the far right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, had called on Akşener to “come back home,” in early August. The MHP is the junior partner in Turkey’s ruling Cumhur Alliance together with the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Akşener’s Good Party was founded by former members of the MHP in 2017, following the MHP abandoning its critical position towards the AKP government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to adopt a pro-AKP stance.

The Good Party has cooperated with main opposition centre left Republican People’s Party (CHP) in several elections under the Millet (“Nation”) Alliance.

“Mr Bahçeli issues this invitation to our party every six months actually,” Akşener told KRT host Çiğdem Akdemir. “But until now he would always exclude me. This is the first time he has invited me personally.”

The invitation felt more like “a finger wagging at Mr Erdoğan,” she said. “I told Erdoğan that every time he neglects his partner, he comes and says something to us.”

After Akşener’s comment, Erdoğan repeated Bahçeli’s call for her to return home, defining home as Cumhur Alliance in a speech he gave the following Friday at the Hagia Sophia.

“Our home is the bosom of our nation,” Akşener responded in the interview.