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Nationalist opposition leader turns down Erdoğan’s call to join AKP-MHP alliance

Ercin Top / Anadolu Agency

İyi (Good) Party Chair Meral Akşener has turned down a proposal by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to join the Public Alliance (Cumhur İttifakı), formed by Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

“We, as the İYİ Party, have never left anybody or any group in the lurch unless they act against the interests and values of our people,” Akşener told reporters on Wednesday.

The İyi Party is part of the Nation Alliance (Millet İttifakı), which it established with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party. During last year’s local elections, the Nation Alliance scored significant victories against the Public Alliance, winning six out of Turkey’s 10 biggest cities including İstanbul and Ankara.

Akşener, a former member of the MHP, founded her own party after she was expelled from the nationalist party by Chair Devlet Bahçeli. In a statement last week Bahçeli called on Akşener to return home and to end the division. His call was echoed by Erdoğan, who invited the İyi Party to join the Public Alliance.

Akşener underlined that the AKP and the MHP currently hold the majority of seats in the parliament and that they do not need the support of her party to pass legislation. She also pointed out that her party and others in the opposition lend their support to the government on matters of foreign policy.

Akşener said the İyi Party could support the Public Alliance on the condition that the two parties agree to reverse the system of governance into a strengthened parliamentary system.

Through a popular referendum in April 2017 spearheaded by the AKP and MHP, Turkey abandoned the parliamentary system of governance in favor of a presidential model, granting vast executive authorities to the president.

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