BREAKING:  Erdogan ally  Bahceli threatens  to quit the alliance in strongest warning to Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ally, right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on June 12 stated that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) should form an alliance, expressing the clearest warning to Erdogan to date that his party remains opposed to contact between AKP and CHP.   AKP quarters immediately assured the nation that Erdogan’s party remains committed to the Republican Alliance, but it is without doubt that Bahceli now believes Erdogan is scheming to perjure his party and is looking for alternatives.

Will Bahceli end his long-standing  coalition with Erdogan?  Journalist /columnist Gokcer Tahincioglu provides some answers.

According to Duvar English in a  late Wednesday X (formerly Twitter) statement, Bahçeli said, “It is the sincere wish of the MHP that a broad-based alliance between the AKP and the CHP be formed;
with the support of the other elements of the Table of Six”, referring to the six party coalition that lost May 2023 general and presidential elections against the AKP-MHP lead coalition of parties.

The statement came one day after President and AKP leader Erdoğan visited the CHP headquarters and also met with Ayşe Ateş, the wife of the former Grey Wolves head Sinan Ateş who was assassinated in 2022.

Bahçeli said a new equation with many unknowns is being constructed under the guise of “normalization and détente” between political parties following the March 31st local elections, championed by Erdogan and CHP leader Ozel.

After the AKP’s defeat in the election, Erdoğan called for a “normalization” period in the politics, which mainly means dialogue and consensual decision-making rather than bitter competition.

“The MHP will certainly not have the slightest discomfort in evaluating such dialogues as reasonable and logical, as long as they are in good faith, constructive, and in favor of the nation and the country. There is never a good end to polarization and fighting. However, it is beyond any kind of explanation that the traffic of contacts and negotiations, which is at the top of the national agenda, has turned into a smear campaign targeting the MHP,” Bahçeli said.

Bahçeli said some people claim that MHP is against normalization. “The widespread perjury of the Nationalist Movement’s reputation through a murder case for which an indictment is being prepared is not a quest for justice, but an  attempt to poison  domestic peace,” he said, referring to the Sinan Ateş case.


“The MHP will definitely be present at the hearing of the aforementioned case to be held on July 1, 2024, and will settle accounts with the plotters of dark schemes before the Turkish judiciary,” he added.

Regarding the rumors of the cracks in the alliance between the AKP and MHP, Bahçeli said, “If the MHP is described as a barrier to the progress of normalization,  our responsibility is to risk all kinds of sacrifices for the sake of our country and our nation, and to do what is necessary with peace of mind.

It is the sincere wish of the MHP that a broad-based alliance between the AKP and the CHP is formed with the support of the other elements of the Table of Six, as advocated by the dissatisfied factions within the AKP.”


“Having said this, our commitment to the Republican Alliance will continue with determination, and our support for the administration’s legislative proposals in the Turkish Grand National Assembly will continue. Moreover, it is not possible for us to back down from its principles and goals,” he added.

Bahçeli lastly noted that they would “stand by and behind our President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan until the end.” “We respect Mr. President’s meetings, the new relations he is establishing and the bilateral contacts he has made. We once again take the initiative to  free  him (from our alliance) in order to make him more comfortable.


Erdoğan’s meetings

On June 11, President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a return visit to main-opposition CHP leader Özgür Özel, marking the first visit to CHP’s headquarters after 18 years.

Moreover, he welcomed Ayşe Ateş and her children at the presidential palace complex. Ateş is the wife of Sinan Ateş, former head of the ultra-nationalist far-right Grey Wolves connected to the MHP.


Some MHP and Grey Wolves members were reportedly involved in the assassination whereas Bahçeli denies the allegations.



What does  all these mean for the future of domestic politics?


Gokcer Tahincioglu suggests:


The statement shows that Bahçeli is aware of the damage that the Sinan Ateş case has done to his party and reflects the anger of MHP towards Erdogan for keeping this issue on the agenda. By saying that the trial  is used to drive apart  AKP and MHP, he subtly messages that he sees the contacts with CHP in this context. The statement also includes the ultimatum that MHP is at the limit of its tolerance and may end the alliance with the AKP, while keeping its support for Erdoğan intact.

When his statement is viewed as a whole, it can be said that Bahçeli reminded the  “51 percent plus 1 vote”,  rule to Erdogan, which is the presidential election threshold”.   In other words, Bahceli is asking Erdogan to whitewash Sinan Ates murder and put distance between his party and CHP, if he wants to be reelected.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.