Ankara, July 15 () - Unsurprisingly, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has told Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu the MHP was not willing to take part in any coalition government formula, since they have maintained Turkey’s people cast the role of main opposition party for them in the June 7 parliamentary election.
“He [Bahçeli] has once more confirmed that their approach is to not be in a government partnership, as they have previously stated on many occasions since June 7,” Davutoğlu, the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters after a meeting with Bahçeli on July 14.
It was the second meeting in a first round of meetings initiated by Davutoğlu after being given the mandate to form a new government by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 9.
As the leader of the party which got the highest number of seats in the election, although also losing its parliamentary majority, Davutoğlu held the first meeting with Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on July 13. Both the AKP and the CHP have delivered positive messages following the meeting, with a highlight on their consensus that Turkey needs a strong government.
Having voiced respect for the MHP leader’s stance, Davutoğlu, nonetheless, underlined the two leaders still exchanged views despite this negative response.
“We have the opportunity to gather with Mr. Bahçeli for a second meeting after Eid al-Fitr if needed. We have also agreed that this may happen anytime,” he said, noting meetings would also be held between delegations from the other two parties in the meantime.
With his meeting with Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ scheduled for July 15, Davutoğlu plans to complete the first round of talks before Eid al-Fitr, the three-day long Islamic holiday starting July 17.
According to what he said after his meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, a delegation from the AKP and the CHP will continue holding “exploratory talks” in the meantime. He said he wished to have the same kind of “exploratory” talks with other parties too before holding a second round of talks after Eid al-Fitr.
“As the AK Parti [AKP], we will continue meetings with all parties. We will keep an equal distance with all parties until the government is formed. Both sides [the AKP and the MHP] consider that there is use in continuing consultations. We have the same convictions: Turkey cannot remain without a government and a strong government is needed,” Davutoğlu said.
In response to a request to elaborate on the nature of possible talks with the MHP, Davutoğlu acknowledged these meetings may not have the same content as “exploratory” talks with the CHP.
“[The] flow of time and conditions will determine the content,” he added, prompting a question by a journalist on whether this indicates the AKP would eventually turn to a meeting with the MHP to ask support for a minority government to be formed by them in case coalition talks do not eventually yield a positive result.
“Politics is dynamic,” Davutoğlu responded, recalling they have agreed on two key points: Turkey cannot remain without a government and a strong government is needed. “Having agreed on these, the conditions available for our meeting can occur anytime,” he said.
“The picture emerging from the June 7 election shows us [we should] not close any door and not exclude any possibility. We keep the same distance with every party until we form a coalition with a party and sign a protocol,” he said.
According to Davutoğlu, politics is beyond any kind of calculations.
“In critical times, all leaders need to review their earlier positions and everybody should be open to all kinds of options,” he said.
During the almost two-hour-long meeting at Bahçeli’s office, Davutoğlu was accompanied by Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik, AKP Secretary-General Haluk İpek, AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mahir Ünal, AKP Anktalya deputy Lütfi Elvan and AKP Ankara deputy Ertan Aydın.
Bahçeli hosted the AKP delegation along with MHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Oktay Vural, MHP Secretary-General İsmet Büyükataman, MHP Deputy Secretary-General Mustafa Kalaycı and MHP deputy leaders Kenan Tanrıkulu and Semih Yalçın.