Erdoğan, Bahçeli can’t cut ties due to involvement in crimes, opposition leader says

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An opposition party leader has claimed that both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ally Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), are in no position to end their alliance because of their involvement in political crimes, local media reported on Friday.

Ahmet Davutoğlu, a former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) heavyweight who later parted ways with the party and established the rival Future Party (GP) in late 2019, on Friday said the AKP-MHP alliance had begun to crack but that Erdoğan and Bahçeli are unable to end it due to the political crimes in which they’ve been involved.

Since the adoption of a presidential system through a constitutional referendum spearheaded by Erdoğan in 2017, the politics of the country has been undergoing a bipolarization in which Erdoğan’s Public Alliance with the MHP has represented political power.

There’s also an opposition bloc called the Nation Alliance, which was formed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ (Good) Party and the Islamist Felicity Party (SP), also receiving external support from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

“Alliances shouldn’t be seen as permanent, especially the Public Alliance, which has begun to crack. But Erdoğan and Bahçeli have so many jointly-committed political crimes that they can’t break away from each other. But how long will that last?” Davutoğlu said during a press conference in Bursa.

Davutoğlu also criticized the ruling AKP for its poor handling of deadly flash floods in Turkey’s Black Sea region, underlining that the government is unprepared to manage natural disasters.

The GP leader was also referring to recent wildfires in the country that killed nine people and destroyed large swathes of forestland, prompting many, including residents who lost homes and livestock, to criticize Erdoğan and his AKP government over the poor response and inadequate preparedness, following the admission that they didn’t have a usable firefighting aircraft fleet.

Opposition parties accused the government of failing to procure firefighting planes and instead spending money on construction projects that they say are harmful to the environment.

Davutoğlu also pointed to the “contradiction” between the policies pursued by the AKP and arguments voiced by government officials, in reference to an aid campaign for flood victims that was launched on Friday via a presidential decree authorizing Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) to organize national donation campaigns in the event of such natural disasters.

“At every opportunity, you say Turkey is mighty, accusing the people who organized the ‘Help Turkey’ campaign of treason. But in even the slightest disaster, you think of collecting money [from the people]. This is a contradiction,” the GP leader said.

Many people in Turkey, including a large number of celebrities, sought help for the containment of wildfires that started in Turkey in late July through an online campaign pleading for international assistance in extinguishing the fires.

Pro-government dailies targeted famous singers and actors who extended their support to the international “Help Turkey” call. Their support had angered the government, which claimed the campaign was organized by provocateurs with the aim of humiliating Turkey.

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