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Akşener meets supporters ahead of launching new party

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Former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Meral Akşener, who is launching a new political party in October, met on Tuesday with 1,500 supporters in İstanbul, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

According to the report, Akşener introduced the founders of the party to supporters and said further details concerning the name, emblem and party bylaws would be announced on Oct. 25.

“Our party will be born as the party of Turkey. Our nation has acknowledged it as Turkey’s party even before it has been born. … There will not be any women’s branch in the party structure, women will take positions at every level of the party organization. … There will be a 30 percent women’s quota, as we are still discussing with our male friends. The quota will be at every level in the party,” Akşener said.

Akşener noted during her speech that she had encountered challenges while trying to find a headquarters for the party, meeting rooms and hotels due to the pressure of certain ministries.

“It has been said that this party will not be allowed to be formed, or that Akşener will be imprisoned if she pursues her bid to form this party. But the honorable [President] Tayyip Erdoğan that I know will not let anyone say he was afraid of women. So this party will be established,” Akşener stated.

“I am not afraid of being arrested. I’ve already said publicly that if they can find anything, they can come and arrest me. There are many slanders against me. I have said that if they cannot prove their slander, then they have no honor,” she added.

Upon adopting a critical stance against MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and standing as a candidate for party leadership against him, Akşener was expelled by the MHP disciplinary committee in September 2016 by unanimous vote.

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