With the return of a former member, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has increased its number of parliamentary deputies to 50.
Hayati Arkaz, an Istanbul deputy from the far-right opposition Good Party (İP), jumped ship this week following an invitation from MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli. In the 600-seat Parliament, the MHP now has 50 lawmakers, while the İP now has 54.
In a move that sparked controversy and led to debates within the İP, Arkaz had kissed Bahçeli's hand, a traditional Turkish way of showing respect to elders, on the first day of the new parliamentary term in early July.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which formed an alliance in Parliament with the MHP, has 290 seats. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has 144 lawmakers, while the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has 67. Other seats belonging to minor parties include the Felicity Party, the Great Unity Party and the Democrat Party. After the June 7, 2015 elections, former MHP members Meral Akşener, Ümit Özdağ and a number of its other deputies, including Yusuf Halaçoğlu and Özcan Yeniçeri, had called on Bahçeli to step down as chairman. After they failed to unseat Bahçeli following a heated judicial process, they left the party in 2016 to form their own party, the İP.
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