The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is preparing to announce Melih Gökçek, the former mayor of Turkey’s capital who had served in office for 23 years, as their candidate for mayor of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality in local elections scheduled for next March, according to Turkish media reports.
Gökçek resigned from the post on Oct. 28, 2017 after pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Following the reports, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Monday they did not contact Gökçek but that “it would be an honor” if he voluntarily decided to be a candidate from the party.
In return, Gökçek publicly thanked Bahçeli for his remarks, a gesture that was regarded as a strong indication of his candidacy.
The AKP and the MHP formed an alliance for the presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, providing a comfortable re-election to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan and Bahçeli met several times to discuss the conditions of a possible alliance for the local elections in March but failed to reach an agreement and decided to nominate their own candidates for the cities.
Gökçek’s 23-year term as mayor of Ankara was marred by corruption claims and unnecessary expenses for the city.