Ankara, Sep 4 () - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş has called on Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli to call for an extraordinary congress on Oct. 4, in order to canvass the party’s grassroots stance on Türkeş’s joining of the interim election government.
“Party members and delegations should decide on my assignment, not mere political recruitments” Türkeş said in a press conference on Sept. 4.
He underlined that his call for a congress was not to run as a rival to MHP leader Bahçeli, but simply to leave the decision about his assignment to party members.
Türkeş was careful not to directly target Bahçeli, but he harshly criticized the MHP head’s close cadre, going so far as to describe them as “a few drunks, a couple of jackals.”
“Devlet is an important personality … I call on Devlet and the grey wolves. I am a member of the MHP and I have brought my party to power, even if it is only an election government. Nobody can dismiss me for this reason. Nobody can kick me out of this party” Türkeş stated.
He accused some MHP executives, without naming them, of “hiding behind Bahçeli,” saying they were guilty of not even aiming to bring the MHP to power.
“They want to kick me out of the party for this reason … Today, the MHP is afraid of being the ruling party” Türkeş said, adding that political parties should aim to come to power, otherwise they would not be able to contribute to democracy.
Meanwhile, he also said that if Bahçeli invites him to run as an MHP candidate in the Nov. 1 election, then he would apply.
When asked whether he was considering joining the AKP, Türkeş said he did “not have such an opinion at the moment.” He stressed that the AKP had not invited him to join its ranks and he emphasized that he was performing his duties as deputy prime minister as a member of the MHP.
Türkeş, whose father, Alparslan Türkeş, was the founder of the MHP, broke party lines and accepted Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s offer to join the interim government that will take Turkey to snap polls on Nov. 1.
He immediately became the subject of harsh criticism from his party colleagues over the move, with MHP leader Bahçeli launching a process to expel him from the party. He had earlier underlined that he would not resign from the party.