Is the MHP finished?

National Action Party leader Devlet Bahceli leaves the funeral of Necmettin Erbakan at Fatih Mosque, Istanbul, in March.

Despite it’s racy headline (Turkey: Sizing Up the Impact of Sex on Politics), here is my distinctly unsexy take on the influence of the recent sex tape scandal on the Nationalist Action Party (MHP).

It was funny that the analysts I spoke to for this story all expressed regret about the fate of the MHP.

I say funny, because the MHP is a hardline ultra-nationalist outfit whose ‘Grey Wolf’ activists used to wreak havoc on the streets, whilst most of the commentators I spoke with were leftists and liberals.

As has been widely pointed out though, if the MHP drops below the 10 per cent threshold allowing representation in parliament, its votes will likely benefit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), giving it an effective parliamentary dictatorship in the form of a two thirds majority.

Lament over the fate of the MHP is an indicator of how scared a lot of people are at the prospect of an all-powerful AKP.

Many people also fear that if it was booted out of parliament, the Grey Wolves would take to the streets once again, possibly inciting inter-ethnic conflict with Turkey’s already restive Kurdish minority.

The MHP leader, Devlet Bahceli, has been credited with reining in the party’s activists in recent years… Never thought I’d be rooting for the ultranationalists.


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