MHP official signals joint rallies for referendum with AK Party
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAFeb 20, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 20, 2017 12:00 am
Speaking after a meeting at party headquarters Saturday attended by opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın said that party leaders would hold referendum rallies for the constitutional amendment package with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in several locations, including the Yenikapı district of Istanbul.
Yenikapı, which means "new gate" in Turkish, is home to Istanbul's sprawling city square that has hosted many rallies in Turkey's history, including the democracy rally held after the July 15 failed coup attempt where millions came together to denounce coup plotters and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
In reference to coordinated efforts in the referendum campaign to increase the number of "yes" voters, Yalçın reiterated the circulated letter issued by Bahçeli, stating that the referendum campaigning process will be carried out in cooperation with the AK Party if compulsory action is required.
"It should not come to mean that we are acting together with the AK Party from the beginning of the referendum campaign to the end. Working together [across party lines] is possible if they could organize a rally like in the one in Yenikapı [Istanbul]. Otherwise, there are no plans to work together 24/7," Yalçın added.
Noting that AK Party Chairman Binali Yıldırım and the MHP leader agreed to cooperate to explain the constitutional changes to the public before referendum day, a referendum rally is expected to be held by the two parties March 18, the historic Çanakkale Victory Day, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan relied on during election periods in the past.
According to sources, AK Party officials are working on common platforms for President Erdoğan, Prime Minister Yıldırım and Bahçeli for the referendum campaign, as cooperative efforts with the opposition must be reshaped amid suggestions coming from MHP officials.