No congress until final court decision, MHP deputy chair says

Published 09.04.2016 17:29
Updated 10.04.2016 15:00

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Oktay Öztürk has said there will be no extraordinary congress unless the Supreme Court of Appeals finishes the legal proceedings.

On Friday, an Ankara Civil Court of Peace ruled that the MHP must convene an extraordinary congress after opposing members applied for one in the wake of the party's poor record in the recent general elections.

Öztürk said in a written statement that unless the Supreme Court finishes its judicial process, the implementation of the Civil Court of Peace's order "cannot be possible."

He said the court's ruling is not final and the party management will appeal the decision.

"The judicial process is not over yet," Öztürk said.

MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said on Friday that he will never surrender to those who try to take over his party through court decisions, implying the Gülen Movement, which he speculates supports the party dissidents. "The MHP also has respect for this court decision since it respects the law."

"However, nobody should expect us to hold an extraordinary congress," he said, adding that the judicial process is also available to everyone. "They have used the right to bring the issue to court. Now we will use it. We regard such a decision as an alternative," he said.

The MHP administration is expected to appeal the decision on the extraordinary congress with the Supreme Court of Appeals. Speaking at a press conference following the ruling, intra-party opposition member Sinan Oğan said that he assumes the party opposition along with the three leading candidates will unite during the course of the congress.

Meral Akşener, Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ declared a so-called intra-party war against Bahçeli. The trio submitted 543 signatures to the party in the presence of a notary public in mid-January for an extraordinary congress. The number was sufficient to call for an extraordinary congress, but it is far below the threshold to change the party bylaws, which disallow elections for the chairmanship at extraordinary congresses.

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