Nov 15 2017

Turkey’s far-right could make formal alliance with government - columnists

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has told far-right leader Devlet Bahçeli it will not lower the 10 percent threshold parties must pass to enter parliament, but may instead make a formal electoral alliance possible, two newspaper columnists said on Wednesday.

Bahçeli’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is struggling in opinion polls that show it may not make it past the 10 percent barrier in parliamentary polls due in 2019. His party lost much support due to his backing of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaign for executive powers in an April referendum.

“Bahçeli is not acting like a coalition partner – more like a Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman,” columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in Hürriyet.

“He has announced the AKP and MHP alliance for the 2019 elections two years in advance.”

Plus, Selvi added, “when you add the fact that President Erdoğan is working on the Elections and Political Parties Law to allow parties to make alliances in advance of elections, the photograph becomes even clearer”.

Erdem Gül in Cumhuriyet concurred.

“Devlet Bahçeli’s announcement ‘side by side with the AKP to the end’, is being evaluated in Ankara as the beginning of a process whereby the lowering of the 10 percent electoral threshold is dropped from the agenda and the MHP begins putting its candidates onto the AKP lists,” he said.

Bahçeli is also trying hard to prevent more defections to the newly-established Good Party from members of parliament desperate to keep their jobs after the next election, Gül said.

“He gave the message ‘don’t go anywhere – I’m searching for a formula’ to existing MPs, his organisation and his base,” he said.