Devlet Bahçeli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ultranationalist ally and chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has threatened right-wing opposition İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on social media, calling on her to stop her attack on the MHP or bear the consequences, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
“This is my final warning to this lady [Akşener]. You will have to bear the consequences if you keep up your destructive attitude that crosses the nerves and red lines of the MHP, which you want to divide and finish off. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Listen to the words of your elder!” said Bahçeli in a tweet.
Defying Bahçeli’s threat on social media, Akşener shared the address of the İYİ Party headquarters on Twitter and said: “We would not get on a train if we were afraid of iron.” Akşener also criticized Bahçeli for his alliance with Erdoğan.
Three hours later Akşener posted another tweet with a video showing a group of Bahçeli supporters protesting outside her house, who she challenges. Akşener added a message to the video for Bahçeli: “Bravery is not something done by other mothers’ children. If you’re brave enough, you come yourself. We are here.”
— Meral Akşener (@meral_aksener) October 4, 2018
After Bahçeli aligned himself with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Erdoğan on several issues, including introducing a presidential system of governance in Turkey following the Nov. 1, 2015 elections, several MHP deputies and political figures either were expelled or resigned from the party due to differences in political views with the party administration.
Upon adopting a critical stance against Bahçeli and standing as a candidate for party leadership against him, Akşener was expelled by the MHP disciplinary committee in September 2016 by unanimous vote.
The İYİ Party was established on Oct. 25, 2017, as an alternative for nationalists and center-right Turkish voters. The party, which failed to pass the 10 percent threshold in the June 24 parliamentary elections but secured 43 seats in parliament due to its electoral alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Felicity Party (SP). Bahçeli’s MHP won 49 seats in parliament as part of an alliance with Erdoğan’s AKP.