The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has had a rough few years.
According to the testimony of a Gülenist intelligence officer who worked in the Ankara Security Directorate and who has since been arrested, the terrorist organization was trying to manipulate the MHP through traps set for the chairmen of the party from 2007 to 2010 - the years before the plots of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) came to light.
Furthermore, this person was also accused of organizing a video conspiracy against then Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal, which resulted in his resignation. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is the chairman of the party today, was elected in place of Baykal.
These were not the only recent difficulties faced by the MHP. A group of opponents, including Ümit Özdağ, Koray Aydın and led by Meral Akşener, waged war on MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli and tried to lead the party to a congress. In the process of trying to force change in the party, several FETÖ-linked judges, who are now on trial for their links to the terrorist group, appointed trustees to the CHP, many of whom have also since been arrested within the scope of the FETÖ trials.
FETÖ's interest in leading the MHP to congress revolved around its effort to get rid of Bahçeli, the experienced head of the MHP today, and to promote individuals close to their cause - mainly to gain power in the party before the July 15 coup attempt. Fortunately, the MHP resisted this process and did not give in to this initiative.
The opponents, unable to take over the MHP, stayed in politics by establishing a new party. The Good Party (İP) has been the star of the press recently and gained relative popularity thanks to its president Meral Akşener. Some circles had even introduced her as the new rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Moreover, the party performed so well that it gained five points from the CHP, according to the surveys we conducted two months ago.
While the presidential candidates were being determined, the CHP searched for a rightist candidate, mainly focusing on the common candidacy of Abdullah Gül, but failed. Gül withdrew from the race when an agreement between the opposition parties could not be reached.
When the CHP nominated Muharrem İnce as their candidate, he won back the majority of the votes going to the İP through his style, which is considered friendly by the rightist voters; thus stopping the rise of the İP. The İP and its president have already started to lag. So far, their public meetings have not been overly crowded and TV debates rather unsuccessful.
Akşener's most effective tactic has been throwing around accusations against the AK Party, such as them cutting off power at a hotel or purposefully leaving a truck in the meeting area.
With just two weeks left until the elections, Erdoğan has been able to hold onto his lead. Data released recently indicates that the candidates supported by the AK Party, the MHP and the Great Union Party (BBP) will come out on top in the first round.
The game plan of the opposition parties was to carry the election to the second round, with each party receiving its own votes. The performance loss of the İP makes this plan more difficult to execute. When the CHP's and the Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) predicted percentages are considered, the İP's lack of popularity seems unlikely to make a significant contribution for the opposition to carry the election to the second round. It also seems to have failed to receive the voter support it had hoped for. The predicted vote percentages of the opposition parties are 25 percent for the CHP and 10 percent for the HDP. It seems unlikely that the Felicity Party (SP) and the İP will be able to provide the remaining necessary votes.
Turkey's elections are exciting and hotly anticipated by half of the world, not only the people living in Turkey.
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