Dissident politicians from Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have denied allegations that they are engaged in efforts to form a new political party, in an ongoing rivalry among nationalist wing politicians that has been reignited after surveys revealed that only 30 percent of MHP voters supported the constitutional amendment package in the April 16 referendum, despite MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli clearly backing the package.Turkish media outlets claimed on Wednesday that MHP dissident Meral Akşener has reportedly buckled down to form a new party after she was expelled from the MHP in September 2016. According to claims, Akşener is in efforts to gather her team around the Nationalist Turkey Party (MTP) as far as sources in lobbies are concerned. The former MHP rebel will reportedly enter the 2019 elections with a brand new team under the umbrella of the MTP. However, the identity of those that will proceed with Akşener to the elections remain unknown. Akşener has denied these allegations via her Twitter account, saying that they are in efforts to form a new political party. Another leading dissident figure and former minister Koray Aydın also declared that they have no intentions to form a new party, saying: "The MHP is our home and a mother's bosom. My friends and I don't have a plan B," Koray Aydın said on April 20. "Even though it gets harder every day to engage in politics in the MHP base, we have a responsibility to catch the political base. As idealist Turkish nationalists, we will continue to bother those who remain unbothered in this scene of disappointment. The MHP, with all its nobility and power, is our heart's palace with its deeply rooted history. Our revival is definitely in our roots," Aydın said in a written statement.
Akşener stoked the flames of an intra-party conflict during her appearance at MHP headquarters, participating in an extraordinary congress in June 2016, which was canceled later upon the legal request of MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli. Other dissidents in the MHP at the time were Ümit Özdağ, Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın. Akşener has been accused of having close ties with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli claimed in December 2015 that FETÖ was using one of the party candidates as a "political tool."
Akşener's lawyer Nuri Polat was among the 30 suspects arrested earlier in April for his alleged links to FETÖ, according to sources in the judiciary speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA): "There is a candidate who joined the MHP as a political figure from the Gülen movement," Bahçeli is quoted as saying. Even though Bahçeli did not name this "political tool," Akşener was quick to dismiss claims that she was the "tool," adding that she would have "proudly acknowledged if that was the case."