MHP to wage joint campaign with AKP

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Leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli gestures during an election campaign rally on October 18, 2015 in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Amid reactions from his party lines, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli is paving the way for a joint campaign with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for an April 16 referendum on a constitutional reform package which among other things introduces an executive presidency in Turkey.

“Joint work can be done with other political parties that share the same goal,” said a party circular issued by Bahçeli on Thursday, the T24 news website reported.

The AKP, backed by the MHP, pushed through the legislation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

Bahçeli is under fire from some MHP deputies and voters over his support for the constitutional amendments, which have raised concerns about a one-man regime in Turkey.

The MHP announced on Monday that four deputies from the party, Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Sinan Oğan, Nuri Okutan and İsmail Ok, have been referred to the party’s disciplinary board for expulsion because they disagree with party policy regarding an upcoming referendum.

Oğan said their dismissal was decided by Bahçeli following a recent meeting with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Ümit Özdağ, a deputy who was previously expelled from the MHP, said last month that with the constitutional amendments that will establish an executive presidency, an Erdoğan republic is being formed and that “the Republic of Turkey as we know it will end.”

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