MHP deputy resigns from party after row with AKP

Turkish gov’t ally MHP deputy Saffet Sancaklı has resigned from his party after reportedly criticizing the AKP for "not giving" any municipality to the MHP in Kocaeli province.

Duvar English

Turkish government ally and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Sakarya Deputy and former football player Saffet Sancaklı on Dec. 9 resigned from his party after a row with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In a meeting with the Kocaeli Journalists Association at the Parliament, Sancaklı reportedly criticized the AKP for not giving any municipality to the MHP in Kocaeli province.

“In the local elections (in 2019), (the AKP) told us that we would govern together. But they did not employ any of our friends as the head of a department or deputy mayorship. In Turkey, they did not give us (the MHP) a municipality only in Kocaeli. (In the 2024 local elections), we should be given a district municipality in Kocaeli, otherwise there will be resentment among our party base. Otherwise, the People's Alliance would lose at least four-five municipalities in Kocaeli. If all 13 of the 13 mayoral candidates will be from the AKP (for Kocaeli’s districts), I will not come to Kocaeli,” Sancaklı reportedly said.

MHP leader Bahçeli criticized Sancaklı and said “Does he want to continue his tradition of playing for three big clubs in football as well as in politics? It’s his choice.”

After Bahçeli’s remarks, Sancaklı denied saying those remarks and said he would bring the issue to the judiciary against those “who spread false and purposeful news.”

Nonetheless, MHP deputy chair Semih Yalçın asked for his resignation in a social media post.

Sancaklı then said he was resigning from the party to keep the People's Alliance and the MHP away from all kinds of speculation “per the instructions of our esteemed chair (Bahçeli).”

“I declare that my loyalty to the Nationalist Movement Party and our Leader Mr. Devlet Bahçeli will continue uncompromisingly,” he added.