A far-right Good Party (İP) deputy in western Manisa province, Tamer Akkal, joined the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) yesterday following his decision to resign because of his party's cooperation with the pro-PKK People's Democratic Party (HDP).
During yesterday's AK Party group meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned a badge on Akkal's jacket and welcomed him to the party.
Akkal announced his resignation from the İP on Jan. 27, saying that the alliance with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has inflicted irreparable damage to the party.
"The declaration of a party, the political wing of the PKK terrorist organization, [the HDP] to not nominate a candidate in various metropolitan municipalities in support of the alliance has led me to make my decision as a Turkish nationalist," Akkal said.
Following the ceremony, Akkal said that he hopes to be more beneficial and effective in the ranks of the AK Party.
He underlined that the alliance formed between the CHP for the local elections stoked tension within the İP. Akkal said that the CHP and the HDP have also pledged to support each other in various electoral districts and "the nationalists would not take such cooperation on the chin."
"The Good Party, although it claims to have settled in the center, is a party of Turkish nationalist people who came from the MHP. No Turkish nationalist aspires to work shoulder to shoulder with the PKK's political extension," said Akkal.
The HDP, which has been condemned for its close ties with the PKK, announced Monday that it will not nominate mayoral candidates in seven major municipalities, including Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara, in the March 31 local elections. The decision raised questions about a possible secret alliance between the CHP and the HDP.
Apart from the race in the metropolitan municipalities, HDP Siirt Deputy Meral Danış Beştaş said on Monday that they will support Alper Taş, CHP's candidate in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district.
The CHP has refrained from officially including the HDP in its electoral alliance with the İP amid fears of possible backlash from its secular-nationalist voter base. In the June 24, 2018 general elections, however, the CHP had urged its voter base to vote for the HDP to stop the AK Party from having a single majority - a possibility had the HDP not passed the 10 percent threshold and failed to win Parliament seats.
The HDP has long been accused of having close ties with the PKK. In September 2018, former HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for spreading terrorist propaganda. Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016 on terrorism-related charges.
The Nation Alliance between the CHP, the İP, the Felicity Party (SP) and the center-right Democrat Party (DP) received 33.9 percent of the votes in the June 24 parliamentary elections. It suffered a defeat at the hands of the People's Alliance between the AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which received 53.7 percent of the votes.
Meanwhile, while the parties have been announcing their candidates in Istanbul's districts, a recent survey by the Objective Research Center (ORC) found that 43.6 percent of the electorate in Istanbul support Binali Yıldırım, the last prime minister of the country and the current Parliament speaker, in favor of CHP's candidate, the mayor of Istanbul's Beylikdüzü district, Ekrem İmamoğlu. Speaking previously to Daily Sabah, Murat Pösteki, the head of the ORC, said the electoral base in Istanbul has been long been waiting to see Yıldırım as the AK Party's candidate.
The People's Alliance, the other alliance bloc formed by the AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), aims to preserve the momentum carried out ahead of June 24 elections.