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Bahçeli says he may accompany Erdoğan to Europe for campaigning

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Leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli has said he could accompany President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a trip to Europe to campaign for a  constitutional reform package, which will introduce an executive presidency in the country.

Bahçeli’s remarks came in the wake of the refusal of some European countries such as Germany to allow Turkish government officials to hold referendum rallies there.

Speaking to the Haber Türk TV station on Monday, Bahçeli said: “If Mr. President is determined to go to Europe, he is not alone. As the MHP chairman, I will accompany him. I am together with Mr. President in revealing the Turkish sprit in Europe, which makes up an important part of the Turkish world.”

In addition to the German government, the governments of the Netherlands and Austria are against Turkish governments’ officials holding referendum rallies in their countries mainly out of security concerns and fears about tension within the Turkish community.

In a speech on Sunday, Erdoğan accused Germany of employing practices similar to those of the Nazi era by not allowing Turkish ministers to hold rallies there.

Asked whether he himself planned to make an appearance in Germany, Erdogan replied: “If I want to, I’ll come tomorrow. I’ll come and if you don’t let me in or don’t let me speak, I’ll make a fuss.”

The reforms, which will be put to a public vote on April 16, were pressed ahead by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP. President Erdoğan says the reforms will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.

The reform will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.

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