Radical Islamist YRP departs from Turkey’s ruling People’s Alliance

AKP deputy chair Efkan Ala stated that the radical Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) has not been part of Turkey's ruling People’s Alliance anymore after the two parties have been at odds due to disagreement on upcoming local elections. "We will not allow those who try to walk in our shadow," President Erdoğan warned the YRP.

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Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair and lawmaker Efkan Ala on March 6 said that the radical Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) was no longer part of the ruling People's Alliance.

YRP participated in the 2023 General Elections with the People's Alliance and took five deputies to the parliament after receiving 2.8 percent of the votes.

Ala told Anadolu Agency (AA), "In the constituencies where the YRP runs, it has no chance of winning the elections itself, but the likelihood of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) winning increases. In fact, the votes cast directly contribute to the CHP winning the municipality.'"

YRP leader Fatih Erbakan has revealed that they previously demanded two district municipalities in return for their support of AKP in Istanbul in municipal elections. The YRP named a mayoral candidate for Istanbul after both parties failed to reach an agreement on local elections.

Ala described the alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Great Unity Party (BBP) as an "agreement of principles.”

"We expressed the same principles when we met with other parties, but it was not possible to reach an agreement with some of them," Ala said.

He noted that there would be no problem in the alliance if one of the two parties won when they entered the elections separately. "If the CHP wins in areas where both parties compete, it raises concerns and questions the purpose of maintaining an alliance under such circumstances,” he underscored.

Ala pointed out that the local election dispute with the YRP did not bring any advantage to the People's Alliance or Turkey.

"When the demands of the YRP align with giving them areas where the AKP already receives more than 50 percent of the vote, it becomes meaningless. What significance does it hold for parties seeking to negotiate under the same umbrella in areas where we are already poised to secure the majority of the vote, be it a major city or metropolitan area,” Ala argued.

Erdoğan: 'We will not allow those who try to walk in our shadow'

Speaking at the AKP rally in Malatya province, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also criticized YRP without naming it and said that (some) parties have emerged that are working not to win for themselves but to make the AKP lose by nominating former AKP mayors and deputies as candidates.

"As we have always said, Turkey is a free and democratic country. Anyone can do politics and be a candidate wherever they want. We are responsible for our own alliance, our own party and our own candidates. However, we will not allow those who work to make us lose and try to walk in our shadow," Erdoğan stated.

Istanbul became the priority of the AKP for the upcoming local elections on March 31 as it lost the mayorship of the megacity to the main opposition CHP after years.