Erdoğan targets Good Party to shatter Turkish opposition bloc - columnist

Turkish President and the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is trying to break up the opposition bloc, columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in pro-government Hürriyet newspaper.

Erdoğan has repeatedly spoken of his intention to weaken the opposition Nation Alliance, made up of the secularist Republican People’s Party, nationalist Good Party and Islamist Felicity Party. 

With unofficial support from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, the opposition alliance dealt a huge blow to the AKP in this year’s local elections, winning five of Turkey’s largest provinces including Istanbul and Ankara.

The Turkish President aims to put an end to the unified front against him by pulling away the Good Party, which emerged as a splinter faction from AKP allied far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in 2017, Selvi said.

"But the attitude of MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli on the Good Party will be important," said Selvi, who is known for his close links with the ruling coalition.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan is also developing a strategy to see off challenges from dissenters in his own party, who are being drawn to two new political movements led by former AKP heavyweights.

The president will meet and try to win over former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, who resigned from the AKP to head one of the new movements this year, Selvi said.

"Can he succeed? It seems a long shot. But he is also trying to motivate the AKP organisation against the new parties," Selvi said.