Turkey’s far-right leader slams Die Linke MP for calling MHP members ‘fascists’

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Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Wednesday slammed a lawmaker from Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) for calling MHP members “fascists” in a recent parliamentary question submitted to the federal government.

“Those who describe the MHP as [a] fascist [party] are foul-mouthed people who talk nonsense. At the same time, they have a primitive and fanatic understanding that has no credibility and that disregards democratic values,” Bahçeli said in a tweet.

Referring to MP Ulla Jelpke, the MHP leader added: “The turcophobe who submitted the parliamentary question on behalf of the Left Party revealed how bigoted she was by accusing MHP members of being fascists.”

Bahçeli also accused Berlin of terrorist links, saying: “What does Germany, which welcomed murderers from the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] before July 15 [2016] and traitors from FETÖ after July 15 with open arms, want from us? If [Angela] Merkel’s government has something on us, it’s a matter of honor for them to share it with us.”

FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization. Erdoğan’s AKP labels the worldwide civic initiative inspired by the ideas and activism of the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen as a terrorist organization and accuses them of orchestrating the attempted coup that killed 251 people on July 15, 2016.

Although both Gülen and his followers strongly deny any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activities, Erdoğan’s AKP intensified its crackdown on the movement after the failed coup, carrying out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Bahçeli’s tweets accusing Berlin and Jelpke came after the MP said, in a parliamentary question regarding the MHP’s increasing influence over Turkey’s AKP government, that Erdoğan was ready to do anything for an alliance with the “fascist” MHP in order to stay in power, given the decreasing sympathy for his ruling AKP.

The federal government has to understand that whenever it holds a meeting with Ankara, ultranationalist MHP members also sit at the table as an invisible partner, Jelpke argued, underlining that “fascists” could not be a partner of the German government.

Jelpke also claimed that the recent move by a top Turkish prosecutor to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third-largest group in parliament and the newest party of the Kurdish political movement since its predecessors were shut down due to alleged terror links, was the AKP’s gift to the MHP to ensure the far-right party’s support in the long term.

Erdoğan and Bahçeli have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the PKK, a militant group that has waged a three-decade-long war in southeastern Turkey, although the party denies the links and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish problem.

The German federal government said in response to Jelpke that it had observed that the MHP’s political demands were picked up by the AKP and regularly find their way into Turkish laws, adding that it had information that the number of people connected to the MHP in the state structures had increased noticeably in recent years.

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