Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies Ümit Özdağ and Yusuf Halaçoğlu were attacked as they were set to deliver speeches as part of a campaign for a “no” vote in an upcoming referendum, at Bahçeşehir University on Wednesday.
The two are known for their critical stance against MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who along with the government supports the “Yes” campaign. While Özdağ was previously expelled from the MHP, Halaçoğlu has retained his membership in the party.
A group of 30 people broke into the hall just before the two were to give their speeches and chanted, “It is Bahçeli who is the leader of this movement.” The group also rushed on to the stage and toppled the podium. The two deputies remained sitting and avoided any physical attack.
The incident came only days after Sinan Ogan, another politician who was expelled from the MHP, was attacked during a similar campaign speech. Özdağ and Ogan had opposed Bahçeli and ran against him for leadership of the party before they were expelled.
A referendum on constitutional amendments, scheduled to take place on April 16, will open the way to a switch from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidency. (turkeypurge.com) March 9, 2017