Islamist New Welfare Party decides not to join ruling AKP’s alliance

New Welfare Party leader Fatih Erbakan announced that his party will not join the ruling People’s Alliance in the 2023 elections despite the negotiations with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) after their meeting on March 11. Sunni-Islamist party's leader Erbakan will run for the office in the presidential election.

Duvar English

Fatih Erbakan, chair of the New Welfare Party, on March 20 announced that they did not accept the offer from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to join the latter's People's Alliance for the 2023 elections. Instead, Erbakan said he will run as a presidential candidate.

In his speech, Erbakan gave several chauvinistic references to historical events in front of the party headquarters.

He said that they will not “uncompromise from the National Vision (“Milli Görüş”) line” which is the same Sunni-Islamist political tradition gave birth to the AKP. 

After the AKP executives' visit to New Welfare Party on March 11, a 30-item proposal for joining the alliance began to be circulated. Even though some claimed that AKP has accepted to the New Welfare Party’s demand to abolish Law No. 6284 on the Protection of the Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women, some AKP executives denied the allegations. 

After his speech, Erbakan went to the High Election Board (YSK) headquarters to apply for the presidential candidacy.

When asked why they refused to join the People's Alliance, Erbakan said "We'll explain it when the time comes. Our party boards deemed it appropriate."

With the move, AKP's efforts to extend the coalition against the main opposition's Nation Alliance suffered. AKP executives also paid a visit to the radical Islamist HÜDAPAR (Free Cause Party) as part of this effort.

The People's Alliance includes the ruling AKP, far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and ultranationalist Great Unity Party (BBP).

On March 20, the first day for the nominations to the presidential elections, Homeland Party (MP) leader Muharrem İnce who is the former presidential candidate of the main opposition CHP, neo-nationalist Patriotic Party (VP) leader Doğu Perinçek, far-right opposition ATA Alliance candidate Sinan Oğan, New Welfare Party leader Fatih Erbakan, former Prime Minister and President Turgut Özal's son Ahmet Özal officially applied to the High Election Board (YSK) for candidacy.

Aside from them, ruling coalition People’s Alliance’s candidate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will run for the office. Both are expected to run in the second round of the election if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes.