The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have “given a green light” to the right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP) to join their alliance, and are waiting to see whether the small religious Felicity Party (SP) also joins them, according to anonymous sources.
AKP and MHP officials gathered on Jan. 18 to discuss legal procedures for what they have called a “national alliance” ahead of the 2019 elections. The move came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli met on Jan. 10, following the latter’s announcement that the nationalist party would endorse Erdoğan’s bid for reelection in the presidential elections slated for November 2019.
According to various sources, Erdoğan and Bahçeli discussed BBP chair Mustafa Destici’s “supportive” remarks over an AKP-MHP alliance during their meeting, with Erdoğan asking Bahçeli about his ideas of other political parties joining the alliance. “BBP also wants to join this alliance, is that alright with you?” Erdoğan reportedly asked Bahçeli, with the latter answering: “One vote is one vote, why would I mind?”
Destici reportedly told Erdoğan during a meeting in December last year that he wanted to be a part of an electoral alliance with the AKP, which is why Erdoğan reportedly discussed the issue with Bahçeli.
Senior AKP cadres will first discuss how and in what format the party will participate in the alliance, after which all the parties will hold meetings on the issue.
Meanwhile, the AKP is reportedly working on including the SP in the alliance. SP chair Temel Karamollaoğlu and some AKP executives are said to have already held meetings on the issue.
But the final “green light” depends on a potential meeting between Erdoğan and Karamollaoğlu, who is known for his occasional criticism of the AKP.
On Jan. 18, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Parliament’s Constitutional Commission head Mustafa Şentop and AKP Spokesperson Mahir Ünal met with MHP lawmakers Mehmet Parsak, Mustafa Kalaycı and İsmail Faruk Aksu in parliament to start talks for a set of legal changes on the Election Law and Political Parties’ Law.
Şentop said the commission would continue its work in the coming days and weeks. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 23.