MHP rebels stopped from taking advantage of judicial confusion
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMay 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
May 16, 2016 12:00 am
Four rivals united in their opposition to MHP Chairman Bahçeli tried to exploit judicial confusion caused by contradictory court decisions and Gülenist subversion, but were stopped in front of the hall they hoped to hold an extraordinary convention
Despite efforts by dissidents in the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), allegedly affiliated with the Gülen Movement, to gather an emergency convention of the party on Sunday by defying a recent court order, the party administration seems to have the upper hand in the intra-party challenge. The entrance of the Büyük Anadolu Hotel in the capital, Ankara, was closed off by police barricades reportedly in line with instructions from the Ankara Governorate, and hundreds of party members, who have been there since the early hours of the morning, were not allowed to enter the hotel. Later, party dissidents Meral Akşener, Sinan Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ told their supporters, "It is time to return to our homes." On May 13, a court accepted the MHP dissidents' appeal against the stay of the execution order of another court on the party's emergency convention. Yet, a court in Ankara ruled late Friday that Friday's ruling for the stay of the execution order is valid and dissidents cannot hold an emergency convention on Sunday. Defying the judicial decision, it was previously revealed that a Gülen Movement-linked judge was behind the approval of the previous decision of accepting the dissidents' appeal.
Burhan Yaz, who was previously a member of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and on the list in the investigation conducted against the Gülen Movement's involvement in the institution, had been previously appointed as a judge to the court that was behind the dissidents' decision to convene an emergency convention. It is expected that MHP headquarters will file charges against Yaz for alleged links to the Gülen Movement.
MHP dissidents have been very vocal since the Nov. 1 elections in which the party barely passed the 10 percent national election threshold and lost half of its deputies compared to the June 7 elections. Since then, Akşener, Oğan and Aydın have raised their voices against MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, who has ruled the party since 1997. Later, the dissidents were joined by former Vice Chairman Özdağ.
Seeking an emergency convention to amend party regulations that do not allow extraordinary leadership congresses to be held, the group collected 543 signatures of the MHP's total 1,242 delegates. This number is enough to call a congress and very close to the required 601 votes to change the regulations. The trio submitted the signatures to the party; however, the party administration refused to gather a convention and forced the dissidents to take the matter before the court.
The party administration asserts that several candidates are backed by the controversial Gülen Movement, which is being probed by authorities for forming an illegal organization for its cadres nestled in the judiciary and police to topple the government through fake evidence and illegal wiretapping.
Amid the conflicting court rulings, Bahçeli previously said: "None of my brothers and sisters will become the pawn of a trans-oceanic-centered game and fall for the trap of a so-called congress. Attempting to paint the MHP as being in chaos, blocking the MHP is a sin that is heavy to carry."
Bahçeli also accused the dissident members of committing a crime by violating court rulings. "We have no party to hand over to the 'parallel [structure],'" he said in early April, adding that the date for a congress is March 18, 2018. Claiming that the Gülen Movement wants to design Turkish politics through the MHP, Bahçeli contended that it would never reach this goal. "I see people who scream out with joy. No one should have desires in this vein," he said.
Criticizing the Gülen Movement, Bahçeli accused what he called movement-affiliated people of hypocrisy over the appointment of trustees to the party. "I am telling this group that raised hell when trustees were appointed to their institutions: You deserve everything you have experienced so far. These [people] are hypocrites," Bahçeli said. He also labeled Gülen Movement-affiliated people as "the puppets of the United States and a disgrace to Islam."