Murat Yetkin: Bahçeli’s memorandum to Erdoğan – If you are going to walk with Özel, let me get out of the way

It was expected that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli would respond to President Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to listen to Sinan Ateş’s wife Ayşe Ateş, following CHP leader Özgür Özel’s suggestion. But Bahçeli, who is as much a master of reproach and threats as he is a master of tactics, could not have predicted that his creativity would go as far as publishing an open letter to Erdoğan through the media, like a memorandum.

In a written statement published on the “X” account of MHP’s Media Deputy Chairman İsmail Özdemir, Bahçeli suggested that if the AK Party intends to form a “broad-based” alliance with the CHP, the MHP could get out of the way.

Sinan Ateş assasination

Bahçeli’s statement at the end of his memorandum-like statement that he will still support the President and remain loyal to the People’s Alliance can be considered as a continuation of his video accompanied by Ferdi Tayfur’s song “Söyleten senin” (I am not quitting, you are the one who quit). It is an expression of reproach intended to put the responsibility for breaking the alliance agreement on Erdoğan.

The source of the reproach, as Bahçeli made clear in his written statement, is the investigation into the murder of Sinan Ateş, the former head of the Grey Wolves Ocaklar (youth organization of MHP). Bahçeli wants the case to be concluded as soon as possible, as in the indictment, which does not include names from the MHP and the Grey Wolves despite the police’s identification of them.

Otherwise, if names from the MHP are found to be somehow connected to the murder, it could lead to a party dissolution case if the political balance changes.

Bahçeli’s statement reads as follows: “The constant polishing of certain names, moreover, the door-to-door and screen-to-screen circulation of these names is more than a search for rights and law, it is an attempt to poison the atmosphere of domestic peace and tranquility.” The target here is Ayşe Ateş, who has shown unprecedented perseverance in trying to get her husband’s murder solved.

The memorandum, its purpose and timing

Bahçeli is clearly telling Erdoğan that if you don’t want to break the People’s Alliance, don’t go any further on the murder of Sinan Ateş.

Moreover, he puts the first hearing of the Sinan Ateş trial on July 1 at the center of the tension, talking about a showdown in the courtroom.

The memorandum was issued after Erdoğan went to the CHP headquarters on June 11 and met with Özel, then received Ayşe Ateş and her two daughters at Beştepe and listened to them, and on June 12, Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç said in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, “The President listened carefully, nothing will remain in the dark,” when asked by journalists.

Either Özgür Özel (CHP leader), or me.

Memorandum actually means “reminder”. Bahçeli is telling Erdoğan that he was elected President twice thanks to him, that they changed the Constitution together, and that he is now ready to change it together (if he wins the majority of seats in the Parliament, of course).

He is hoping that the murder of Sinan Ateş will not be investigated any further, for fear that names linked to the MHP will be uncovered.

One more detail: Bahçeli “seeks normalization and détente” He speaks of a “new equation with many unknowns” to be established. Normalization is Özel’s expression and softening is Erdoğan’s.

He argues that the equation with many unknowns will be the work of both of them; his concern is that the MHP will be left out of this equation. Among the groups he blames are those who are trying to muddy the waters within the AK Party, which makes Bahçeli’s memorandum-like outburst even more of a puzzle.

Erdoğan’s response to Bahçeli’s “Either Özel, or me” and its aftermath is likely to further increase the summer heat in politics.