Turkish nationalist leader ends poll alliance with Erdogan

“No alliance can survive if one party is rejected and forced to step back”


The leader of Turkey’s main nationalist faction on Tuesday announced there would be no alliance with the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in local elections next year after a dispute over a proposed amnesty law.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of Devlet Bahceli teamed up with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) for an alliance in June’s parliamentary and presidential elections, a move widely seen as aiding the president’s victory.

But speaking to MHP members and lawmakers in parliament, Bahceli announced there will be no such alliance for the March 31 local elections which will determine city mayors across the country, notably in Ankara and Istanbul.

The rupture comes after the MHP encouraged the AKP to agree to a mass amnesty — mostly for common criminals but also some mobsters — an idea received with little enthusiasm in the ruling party.

“No alliance can survive if one party is rejected and forced to step back,” Bahceli said. “There is no meaning in extending this process.”

“We no longer have any expectation or intention for an alliance in the local elections,” he added.

The announcement stunned Turkey politics watchers, minutes before Erdogan was due to deliver a crucial speech about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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