Turkey's Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Constitutional Court is to decide whether the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to hold and emergency convention as dissidents requested.
The decision came upon a MHP delegate's application requesting that the country's top court to decide on issue that has became a judicial riddle.
However, MHP Deputy Chair Yalçın denied that the Court of Appeals took such a decision todefer the issue to the Constitutional Court, stating that the judicial process was still underway.
MHP dissidents have been very local after 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, Meral Akşener, Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın have raised their voices against Bahçeli, who has ruled the party since 1997. Later, the dissidents were joined by vice chairman Ümit Özdağ.
Seeking an emergency convention to amend party regulations which do not allow emergency leadership conventions to be held, the trio collected 543 signatures out of MHP's total 1,242 delegates. This number is enough to call for 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 an extraordinary congress and forced the dissidents to take the matter before court, which ruled for an emergency convention on April 7 and assigned three MHP members to lead the party to a convention. The trustees decided that the party to hold its emergency convention on May 15.
The party administration appealed to the ruling and two local courts decided on April 29 to impose an interim injunction on the court ruling taken on April 7 in favor of compelling the MHP holding an emergency convention. Upon the dissidents' appeal, one of the courts removed the stay of execution decision.
The party administration also appealed to emergency convention decision at Turkey's Court of Appeals, which will announce its decision within this month.
A Turkish court accepted on dissidents' appeal against the stay of execution of another court on party's emergency convention. Meanwhile, the court which previously overruled the emergency convention upon party administration's request issued the same day a new stay of execution decision, increasing uncertainty on whether the convention will be held and whether it will be legally valid.
Following a meeting between candidates, MHP dissidents declared on Friday to proceed with the emergency convention if stay of execution overruled. Following the decisions, dissident candidate Sinan Oğan said that there aren't any legal obstacles to prevent holding emergency convention. Leading dissident candidate Meral Akşener posted a call for emergency convention from her official Twitter account. Accordingly, the emergency convention will be held at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday in Ankara.
MHP administration attorneys also held a peace conference at the same time, in which party attorney Yücel Bulut said that a complaint will be filed to the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) against the Ankara court rule accepting dissidents' appeal for stay of execution. Bulut claimed that the court deliberately ruled against the stay of execution order at the end of working hours to pave way for dissidents to convene the hold the emegency convention.
On late Friday, a court in capital Ankara ruled that Friday's ruling for the stay of execution is valid and dissidents cannot hold an emergency convention on Sunday.
Amid the conflicting court rulings, party leader Devlet Bahçeli said, "The MHP is expected to be drowned along with Turkey while it is struggling in a siege which has regional and global branches. I want to cut it short tonight and say it clearly: we will not have a general congress on May 15."
He added: "None of my brothers and sisters shall become the pawn of a trans-oceanic-centered-game [implying Gülen, leader of the Gülenist terror organization] 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 which is heavy to carry."
Bahçeli also accused the dissident members of committing a crime by violating court rulings.
Bolstering the position of the party leadership, the Ankara Governorship said in a statement that under the court rulings received by the office, no MHP congress will be allowed.
Defying the court order and governorate's decision, opposition candidates and their supporters gathered in capital Ankara on May 15. Police have prevented dissident members of the MHP from entering the Büyük Anadolu Hotel, the designated location for an emergency convention. The entrance of the hotel was closed off by police barricades in line with instructions from the Ankara Governorate.
Hundreds of party members, who were not allowed to enter the hotel, stood in front of a training center belonging to Ministry of Customs and Trade and chanted slogans against the MHP's head office.
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