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HomeHeadlineFractures in the Erdogan Alliance: Political Strains Emerge Between AKP and MHP

Fractures in the Erdogan Alliance: Political Strains Emerge Between AKP and MHP

Necip F. Bahadir

The aftermath of March 31 has disrupted the ruling alliance, and things are not going smoothly. Unprecedented cold winds are blowing between the AKP and the MHP, which make up the Cumhur Alliance, and ‘creaking sounds’ are emerging from the alliance.

No one can deny the fact that political balances have changed after March 31. To put it classically, cards are being reshuffled and dealt again in Ankara! The ruling parties, AKP and MHP, suffered major losses. The AKP is seeking new game plans to stay afloat and maintain power. President Erdoğan’s approach to the CHP and the new constitutional move are just a couple of these strategies.

Is the ongoing crack within the Cumhur Alliance a result of the weeks-long saga at the Supreme Court about the election? It’s a well-known but loudly unspoken ‘secret of Ankara’ that the AKP and MHP have organized to an unprecedented extent in the judiciary, down to the smallest units. The elections at the Supreme Court that started on March 24th reached the 24th round. Something is definitely going on behind the scenes.

Could the inability to elect a president to the Supreme Court be influenced by the frostiness between the AKP and MHP? ‘Even if nothing happened, something is happening!’ Until recently, a ‘signal’ from the Palace was enough. It’s clear that the AKP is not pleased with the inconclusive Supreme Court elections. Could the reasons for Erdoğan’s non-intervention or inability to intervene include the MHP factor?

Devlet Bahçeli left the AKP alone on March 31

During the election process on March 31, the MHP left the AKP alone. While Erdoğan was holding rallies from city to city, even in major districts, Devlet Bahçeli did not step outside Ankara. He neither held rallies nor participated in election campaigns, nor appeared on screens. He limited his propaganda to ‘cold, emotionless advertisements.’ “Municipality for everyone, suitable for everyone” was one of the slogans on the posters—a simple and ordinary sentence used many times before. “With the Power of Unity” was another. Whose unity, what power?

Photos of Bahçeli falling in the bathroom and showing bruises on his face surfaced. Yet, he convened a congress in this condition. Holding a congress during an election period is an ‘extraordinary’ stance. I don’t recall another congress during election times. Perhaps it could be tolerated if there was a sudden snap election. No, that would not be acceptable either; it would be expected that the party management would postpone the congress.

Isn’t it natural for Erdoğan and AKP members to think that the MHP did not contribute much to the March 31 elections and that they share the blame for the debacle? While Erdoğan was putting himself out there, Bahçeli was nowhere to be seen in the arenas and streets. He was buried in a deep silence. To win, one must desire and yearn. Bahçeli’s lack of desire and ambition did not go unnoticed. This attitude caused heartbreak and rifts within the AKP. With this behavior, Bahçeli broke Erdoğan, who took whatever he wanted from the benefits of power.

Erdoğan cannot give up on Mehmet Şimşek!

The Mehmet Şimşek bombshell came on top of all this. Bahçeli attacked Mehmet Şimşek, whom Erdoğan had persuasively brought in to head the economy as a ‘savior,’ calling him a ‘corrupter.’ This outburst was no different from placing dynamite under the foundation of the alliance. Erdoğan, who sacrificed Arınç, will not feed Şimşek to the wolves and hawks. He pinned all his hopes for a comeback on Şimşek’s international reputation and policies. Bahçeli might give up on many things, but never on Şimşek.

After the Şimşek bombshell, the MHP leader escalated his message, and using the lyrics of a Ferdi Tayfur song, he sent a virtual nuclear missile to the AKP. He appeared quite healthy as he walked in his garden at home in the video clip, which featured Tayfur’s song in the background. Tayfur is a fellow townsman of Bahçeli. It is known that Bahçeli listens to Tayfur’s songs during long road trips.

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