Cyprus Mail
Recommended Turkey World

Turkish police seal off hotel to halt dissident opposition congress

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

By Gulsen Solaker and Mert Ozkan

Police sealed off a hotel in Ankara on Sunday, preventing dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist opposition from holding a party congress that could jeopardise President Tayyip Erdogan’s plans for more power.

Several hundred members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have launched a bid to oust Devlet Bahceli, leader for much of the last two decades. To do so they need to change party rules at a special congress.

The AK Party needs the MHP’s support to change the constitution to give Erdogan more powers. Bahceli loyalists seem willing to do this, but dissident leaders, including former interior minister Meral Aksener, have said they will oppose the plan.

Dissident leaders issued a statement on Sunday accusing Erdogan’s AK Party of intervening to try to block the congress.

“The executive branch staged a coup against the judiciary branch. The constitution and law are being suspended. A change in the MHP became the AK Party government’s nightmare,” the dissidents said in their statement.

Around 5,000 people gathered at police barricades near the hotel where the congress was scheduled to take place. Police sealed off the road leading to the hotel with barricades and water cannon. “Bahceli should resign,” the crowd chanted.

“If the MHP gets stronger it will become an alternative to the AK Party,” said Ibrahim Dizdar, previously the provincial head of Giresun, who was suspended by Bahceli.

“The government is trying to prevent us because they are seeing our excitement here today.”

Bahceli’s party won about 12 percent in last November’s election, getting 40 seats in parliament, which the AK Party needs to call a referendum on changes to the constitution to grant the president greater power.

Aksener has vowed to defend Turkey’s parliamentary system and oppose Erdogan’s plan.

AK Party officials reject any suggestions that the MHP’s leadership battle and their party’s efforts to win its support on constitutional change are in any way linked.

Turkish courts on Friday gave conflicting rulings on whether the nationalist opposition can hold the congress.

Bahceli’s faction sought an injunction to block the meeting but an Ankara court upheld the dissidents’ countersuit. State broadcaster TRT reported verdicts from two other local courts that would halt the congress.

An appeals court ruling is expected this month and will have the final say on the dispute.

 

 



Related posts

Irish PM confident on Brexit, believes British PM wants deal

Reuters News Service

Trump votes in Florida before rallies, Biden heads to Pennsylvania

Reuters News Service

Erdogan: Macron needs treatment over attitude to Muslims

Reuters News Service

Polish President Duda infected with coronavirus; Swiatek goes into quarantine

Reuters News Service

New clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh after Washington talks

Reuters News Service

Egypt begins voting to elect new parliament

Reuters News Service

14 comments

Comments are closed.