The new party to be formed under the leadership of Meral Akşener, a former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member, will occupy the “national center” in Turkish politics, according to one of her colleagues, who announced that the new party will be formed in October and will launch from Samsun, the city where the Turkish War of Independence began in 1919.
“We will launch [the party] from Samsun in October, God willing because [Samsun is] a very important place in the history of our republic as it marks the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence,” Ümit Özdağ told daily Hürriyet in an interview on Aug. 14. “A commission which will work on the formation of our organization has been formed. Work on the formation of the commission of founding members, the program, and the party manifesto are ongoing,” Özdağ said.
Defining the current political atmosphere in Turkey as an “attack against the basic principles of the republic,” Özdağ said, the new party “will embrace the Turkish nation, and will be loyal to the founding principles of the Turkish Republic. We define ourselves as a central party. In other words, a party which invites all patriots who are either on the right side of the center or the left side of the center is emerging,” he stated.
Özdağ said they expect extensive participation in the party “from all political parties” and they anticipate success in upcoming elections.
“The different surveys of various research centers point out that if there will be an election in Turkey, the ruling party will be likely to change. I can say this party will have a group in the parliament as soon as it is formed,” he said.
“I think 20 percent of the MHP members who had said ‘yes’ in the referendum [on April 16] will come,” he added.
Akşener will be the leader
A prominent dissident figure of MHP, Meral Akşener, who had been expelled from the party after she had put in her candidacy for leadership, will be the leader of the new party, Özdağ said.
“Akşener is a politician who has carried out a successful struggle within Turkish politics for a long time. She has recently shown herself with this challenge, which has covered the lack of opposition [in Turkish politics]. She has also said she would like to be prime minister,” Özdağ said.
After the April 16 constitutional referendum the formation of a new party had become a necessity and Akşener had emerged as the “right leader for the position,” he stated.