Ankara, July 8 () - Yusuf Halaçoğlu, a spokesman for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the Turkish Parliament, has said that he never said the social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP) was “irreligious and non-believing” during a telephone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News on July 8.
“What I actually said was if the MHP would have voted for Deniz Baykal, the CHP candidate for parliamentary speaker” Halaçoğlu said, “the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] would have denounced us, the MHP, as voting for the ‘irreligious, and atheist party’ as AKP officials have done so in the past.”
Halaçoğlu has also said that he “did not think the CHP was irreligious or atheist” as well, since “it was not up to MHP or myself but only up to God to measure whether anyone is a true believer.”
The issue had come up during a TV debate when Halaçoğlu was explaining why the MHP did not vote for the CHP candidate in order to block the election of the AKP candidate, İsmet Yılmaz, who was elected as the speaker during the last round of voting.
The MHP spokesman also explained the real reason behind their objection to Baykal’s candidacy was Baykal’s private conversation with President Tayyip Erdoğan right after the June 7 elections, which was not transparent to the MHP or the public. “Baykal did this before in 2003 when he was the head of the CHP” Halaçoğlu told HDN.
“We are not sure they speculated about having a two-party system in Turkey,” revealing MHP concerns that there might have been a plot against the MHP. “Actually, the main reason why we nominated Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu as our candidate was to show that we would not vote for Baykal” Halaçoğlu said. “The CHP could have voted for İhsanoğlu, since they had supported him as a presidential candidate in the August 2014 elections.”
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the CHP, reportedly asked his party spokespersons not to get into any polemics with Halaçoğlu or the MHP on this matter “because it was not worth it.”
Staunch Turkish nationalists, the MHP rejects any political combination involving the Kurdish problem focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who have the same number of parliamentary seats as the MHP, as it believes it would serve a “separation of Turkey.”