Another new party on the Turkish right

The alternatives on the Turkish right are multiplying. Following the establishment of the Good Party by renegade nationalist Meral Akşener, Fatih Erbakan, the son of Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister, has announced that he will also found a new party.

 “We have performed our ablutions and we are setting off on the road,” Erbakan said at an introductory event held in Ankara.

The establishment of the party was announced on social media with the hashtag #WeHaveSetOffWeAreComing

Fatih Erbakan is the son of Necmettin Erbakan who was prime minister for a tempestuous 12 months till he was unseated by pressure from the secularist military in 1997. Necmettin Erbakan rose to prominence in the 1970s at the head of the Milli Görüş (National View) Islamist movement he founded. Prominent members of Milli Görüş, including now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, went on to found the AK Party that has run Turkey since 2002. Necmettin Erbakan died in 2011.

Fatih Erbakan said the “Milli Görüş brand” had been used for purposes outside its patent, and said that his as-yet-unnamed party would “go again over every inch, to every village, to every district of Anatolia”.

“We are again going to our nation and we will gain the right to speak for our nation. Because we have many words to say, much work to do, many steps to take in the name of our nation and the Islamic world,” Erbakan said.

Even though Erdoğan said in 2003 “we have taken off the Milli Görüş shirt” there was always a strong tendency to see the AKP as the continuation of the movement. In any case, the AKP’s candidate lists were still known to be heavily skewed towards those with a background in the movement. Fatih Erbakan also said in an interview with Milliyet newspaper that people voted for the AKP thinking it was the continuation of Milli Görüş.