MHP Chairman Bahçeli hints at support for new constitution
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAMar 07, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 07, 2016 12:00 am
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli has hinted that the MHP will support a new constitution, calling on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to bring its own constitution proposal to Parliament.
Speaking on Saturday night in Ankara, Bahçeli said the AK Party should reveal its "Plan B" in case the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) does not return to the Constitutional Conciliation Commission. "They should bring their own constitution proposal to Parliament. This [new constitution] is only possible through a referendum. So [the AK Party's] required 317 votes need [an additional 13] to reach the entire 330 voter threshold. . In the case of a referendum, MHP [deputies] would contribute in accordance with their world view and principles," Bahçeli said.
He added that his party will continue to be an active part of the Constitutional Conciliation Commission: "The MHP will continue our presence in the Constitutional Conciliation Commission, shoulder the responsibility and express our thoughts freely, saying ‘yes' to those in favor of the nation and ‘no' to those ideas that lead Turkey into darkness."
After the CHP abandoned the committee last week, Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman sent a letter to the leaders of all four parties in Parliament on Friday, urging them to cooperate in forming a new constitution. Responding to Kahraman's letter with a letter of his own, Bahçeli said that the committee should include the four parliamentary parties and that the CHP should be persuaded to return: "The MHP will continue constructive efforts and contributions on the Constitutional Conciliation Committee, which consists of four parties, and you must convince the CHP [to return]."
When the CHP walked out of the Constitution Conciliation Committee, AK Party Deputy Mustafa Şentop said that the committee is not the only option for writing a new constitution, hinting that the AK Party could bring its own proposal to Parliament if there is no compromise reached regarding a new constitution. "The Constitution Conciliation Committee, along with the four political parties, was one of the means for of making a new constitution, but it seems like this option has failed. Now we will seek a way to reach a mutual understanding with the other political parties. If this option also fails, we could bring an AK Party proposal to Parliament," Şentop said.
Bahçeli claimed in a written statement on a news website that the Gülen Movement, led by fugitive imam Fethullah Gülen, plans to seize the MHP chairmanship and turn it into an operational party by dragging the youth into the streets. With dissidents in the MHP become more vocal and Deputy Chairman Ümit Özdağ submitting his resignation last month, Bahçeli prepared a written statement accusing the Gülen Movement of attempting to stir the party and seize full control of it. "[The goal] … is to turn it into an 'operational party' by using our movement in accordance with their political interests and dragging it into the streets," Bahçeli said.It was speculated that the Gülen Movement is targeting the MHP chairmanship through Meral Akşener's candidacy. Akşener, a former MHP deputy, kicked-off an election campaign-like tour last week in the western province of Denizli where she addressed dissidents and sought backing.
Bahçeli also hinted at a candidate being the political tool of the movement in December 2015, saying: "[T]here is one candidate who joined the MHP as a political figure of the Fethullah Gülen Movement."Even though Bahçeli did not name the "political tool," Akşener quickly dismissed the claims about her being the "tool." "I have no connection to the Gülen Movement. I would have proudly said if I had," she contended.Dissidents have been seeking an extraordinary congress from the party administration after they collected over 500 signatures and submitted them in the presence of a notary public. Bahçeli, however, refuses to gather the congress and vows to fight in court. The case is now before the court and dissidents are awaiting a decision.