The intra-party conflict in the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) continues with only a few days remaining until its emergency convention. The court-appointed committee of trustees set the convention date for June 19, while the party administration set it for July 10.
One of the candidates for party chairman, Ümit Özdağ, on Wednesday said: "I think [MHP Chairman Devlet] Bahçeli will decide whether or not to be a candidate for chairman after he sees the number of deputies gathered at the Supreme Board in Ankara on June 19. After seeing a huge turnout, he will not become a candidate." According to Sinan Oğan, who is also running for chairman, the party's bylaw will be changed during the emergency convention and a new election will take place immediately following that decision on July 10. Another candidate for chairmanship, Koray Aydın, said: "June 19, 2016 will go down in Turkish political history as a democratic revolt," demanding that the MHP must go back to its roots as well as reform its concept of brotherhood and comradery. Current claims indicate that Bahçeli might reconsider his candidacy for party chairman if dissidents can take an estimated 850 to 900 MHP delegates of the total 1,232 to the emergency convention on June 19.
Even though Bahçeli previously said that he will be a candidate at the convention, there is still widespread speculation as to whether or not he will change his mind due to the majority of delegates saying they will attend the convention on June 19. There are also speculations about whom Bahçeli would support in such a scenario, with many taking for granted the fact that he would not support Meral Akşener.
MHP Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın on Wednesday denied allegations swirling around the candidates for the chairmanship, saying that the convention on June 19 will pave the way for electing a new chairman. Stressing that Bahçeli will not attend the convention, Yalçın said that in order to hold a valid, legal convention, it has to be opened by all three authorized chairs: The Central Executive Committee (MYK), Central Discipline Committee (MDK) and the current chairman. "Those who dream of a convention without Bahçeli will be disappointed on July 10," Yalçın said.
On Monday, Bahçeli had railed at the dissidents holding the emergency convention on June 19 in an attempt to change party bylaws that prevent them from electing a new chairman. He claimed the June 19 convention is an attempted coup and an undeclared war against the ideology of the party. "How will this pirate convention be held if my authorized friends and I will not be present at the rented convention hall on June 19?" Bahçeli asked, saying that the "real" emergency convention will be held on July 10.