On the 22nd anniversary of his death, Alparslan Türkeş, founder of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was remembered Thursday in a series of events.
The party's current chair, Devlet Bahçeli, joined a crowd at the grave of Türkeş in the capital Ankara for a remembrance ceremony, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message of remembrance for the late politician. "We will always stand by his legacy and keep what he left us alive," Bahçeli said at the remembrance ceremony. "He was a man of cause who never conceded his ideals. He devoted his life to his nation," he added, noting that Türkeş was admired by everyone for his faith in his cause, his solid and brave stance against challenges.
Türkeş, who died of a heart attack in 1997 at the age of 80, is credited with founding the contemporary nationalist movement in Turkish politics.
Born in Cyprus and named Ali Arslan by his family, he changed his name in his youth to Alparslan, the famed Seljuk sultan who played a key role in the settlement of Turkic tribes in present-day Turkey. Türkeş pursued a military career and was a first lieutenant when he was jailed for nine months for his nationalist views. He was the military officer who announced the 1960 coup on the radio, but he fell out with coup's leaders and served a brief prison term for an alleged counter-coup. Quitting the military, he made his foray into politics with the Republican Villagers Nation Party (CKMP) in 1965. The CKMP evolved into the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) a few years later under Türkeş's leadership.
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