May 31 2018

Turkish nationalist presidential candidate says opposition alliance should continue after polls

Turkish nationalist presidential candidate Meral Akşener said the opposition alliance her party is a part of should continue in parliament after elections on June 24

Her nationalist Good Party is part of the Nation Alliance together with the secular Republican People’s Party, the Islamist Felicity Party, and the centre-right Democratic Party, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), nationalist National Movement Party (MHP), and far-right Great Unity Party (BBP) have formed the Popular Alliance.

While opinion polls put Erdoğan’s party and his allies ahead, pollsters say members of the public are reluctant to give their voting preferences and analysts say an opposition victory in presidential and parliamentary polls to end 16 years of AKP rule is a possibility.

“The Nation Alliance will overtake the Popular Alliance in parliament,” Akşener told Cem TV, a channel linked to a conservative Alevi association. “I believe that we need to continue the alliance after the elections as well, and I hope we do.”

Akşener said it was irregularities in last year’s constitutional referendum, narrowly won by the government, that led to the final decision among politicians like herself who had left or been expelled from the MHP to establish the Good Party.

She said that following the failed military coup against Erdoğan in 2016, “a process began and we went to a referendum that forced Turkey to the beck and call of a single man, and we are struggling against that today”.

“If an honest ‘yes’ had come out of it, I would have returned home … After this referendum, people told me to establish a party, and we set up the Good Party.”

Akşener said her party was not merely a nationalist party like the MHP, and that it had been received well even in the traditional far-left Black Sea stronghold of Fatsa.

“More important priorities have overtaken ideology in Turkey,” she said.

Akşener also confirmed reports that it had been her insistence that had led to different parties putting up different candidates instead of former president Abdullah Gül being selected as a united opposition candidate.