Meral Akşener, a former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member and a leading dissenter within party circles, said Monday that she has given up on her dream of becoming an MHP chairwoman, saying that she wants a new centrist party.
Addressing journalists on Monday, Akşener said she has been carrying out work with many of her friends to create a strong alternative to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
"I may seem to be the leader to create a strong option, but we are working with many friends," Akşener said. The former MHP member, who was expelled from the party last year, said the MHP period is over for her. "I want a structure at the center. A nationalist center will be a strong alternative. There is gap in the center," she said.
Akşener made the remarks as Ümit Özdağ, also a former MHP member and one of the dissidents to current MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, was with her.
Recently, there have been rumors that Akşener would form a party called the "Nationalist Turkey Party" (MTP). Following the April 16 referendum, Akşener visited Welfare Party (SP) Chairman Temel Karamollaoğlu and Democrat Party (DP) Chairman Gültekin Uysal to reflect on the referendum results and the path ahead. She was said to have sought support from other parties in her bid to form a new centrist party.
In June 2016, Akşener, Sinan Oğan, Koray Aydın and Özdağ organized an extraordinary party congress to change a party bylaw that restricts emergency party leadership caucuses. However, an Ankara court on June 20 ruled to annul last year's congress held by the dissident group, declaring all decisions made at the congress null and void.
Having started an intra-party battle against Bahçeli, Akşener was expelled from the party on Sept. 8, 2016. She has also been attacked for having supposed close ties with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and Bahçeli claimed in December 2015 that FETÖ was using one of the party's candidates as a "political tool." Akşener's lawyer, Nuri Polat, was among 30 suspects arrested earlier in April for his alleged links to the group.
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