Erdoğan's far-right ally Bahçeli threatens main opposition with death

Far-right ruling coalition partner MHP's leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that “a sad end” awaits the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance and its presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Bahçeli argued that they will either receive “aggravated life sentences” after the May 14 elections or “bullets in their bodies.”

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Far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on May 6 has threatened the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance figures with death.

Speaking at an election rally in Yalova province, Bahçeli said "(Kemal) Kılıçdaroğlu's alliance partners promised to abolish the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet)... These traitors will get either aggravated life sentences or bullets in their bodies." 

The main opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu numerously stated that they will not close the Diyanet despite the claims of the ruling People’s Alliance leaders. 

Bahçeli also said that foreign powers want President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to leave the political scene and claimed that the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance aims to “sell Turkey at the gambling table.” 

He also claimed that the opposition bloc members are “traitors” because they want to withdraw Turkish soldiers serving in Iraq and Syria and release jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. 

The 75-year-old far-right leader added that “Kılıçdaroğlu's companions are terrorists and enemies of Turkey.” He even stated that the nationalist opposition party Good Party (İYİ) collaborated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The İYİ was founded in 2017 by former MHP members who left the party after Bahçeli became Erdoğan’s ally.

As a response, Kılıçdaroğlu shared a tweet and stated that the mafias, militants, paramilitary groups, torturers, and pro-AKP business groups have come together to "threat Turkey." He added, "(The youth), bury them in the dustbin of history in the first round of the elections, and then Mr. Kemal will send them all to where they belong. I promise you!"

The MHP and Bahçeli, longstanding figure in Turkish politics, have a controversial history of affiliations with paramilitary groups and organized crime leaders. Despite being known as a prominent opposition force against Erdoğan's government, the far-right party forged an unexpected alliance with him in 2016 to support his proposal for a transition to a presidential system.