The leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are expected to meet this week to draw a road map for the alliance between their parties in the upcoming March 2019 local elections.
In a press briefing on Saturday, which was held after the AK Party's 27th Consultation and Assessment Meeting the weekend, President Recep Tayyp Erdoğan said that the People's Alliance will continue "in the hearts of the people" even if the two parties don't form an exact bloc on joint candidates for the upcoming elections.
Relevant laws for local elections do not permit an official alliance contrary to the previous presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. Therefore, the two parties will look for strategies of "alliance on the candidate" rather than an alliance on ballots.
President Erdoğan also touched upon the MHP's amnesty bill. "From amnesty issues to child abuse, when it covers topics ranging as wide as this, our primary measure should be our conscience," said Erdoğan.
He added that although Parliament had passed a number of amnesty bills in the past, they were mainly used for political benefits.
"We cannot act the same way," the president said, adding that, "If we are going to do anything, we should do so only after some extensive research."
Erdoğan also underlined that the pretext given for the bill, such as the jails are full, can be no reason to have a nationwide amnesty. Previously, on Sept.22, Erdoğan said: "If the crimes were committed against the state, the state can be entitled to pardon this crime. Yet, if the crime was committed against individuals, the state has no authority to pardon the convicted inmate. Only those harmed by these crimes can pardon the perpetrators."
In a bill submitted last month, the MHP proposed a one-off conditional five-year sentence reduction for certain types of crimes committed before May 19, 2018.
Following Erdoğan's statements, the spokesman for the AK Party Ömer Çelik pointed out that Erdoğan and Devlet Bahçeli, the chairman of the MHP, may hold talks on the details of the alliance following the president's two day visit to Hungary that began today.
Çelik also added that the alliance committees from both parties will meet during Erdoğan's visit.
Accordingly, the committees will exchange their election strategies for the upcoming local elections. Numan Kurtulmuş, AK Party deputy vice chair, and Edip Semih Yalçın, a vice chair of the MHP, will reportedly take part in the meeting.
Mehmet Özhaseki, the AK Party vice chairman, and Sadir Durmaz, another vice chair of the MHP, first agreed on continuing to cooperate in the local elections on Sept. 25. Both parties have been sending signals that they will be committed to the People's Alliance, which they formed for the previous presidential and parliamentary elections. The alliance received a majority in Parliament with 52.6 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. As the alliance proved to be successful, the parties are looking to carry the momentum to the local elections.
Meanwhile, the MHP is conducting meticulous investigations on likely municipal candidates to make sure they don't nominate members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind the failed July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Also the MHP is adamant on not nominating members who acted against the principals of the party. The party had implemented the same method in June 24 elections. As a result of investigations, 89 candidates were eliminated for a number of reasons including FETÖ affiliation, domestic violence and fraud allegations.