Turkey’s far-right MHP leader undermines election results, says Republic 'wasn't founded through ballot box'

Turkish gov’t ally, ultra-nationalist MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has criticized the granting of the official mayoral license to the Van Co-Mayor Zeydan after a row, arguing that the nation’s will “is against all kinds of separatists and terrorists.” Bahçeli said the Republic “wasn’t founded through the ballot box,” undermining the local election results.

Duvar English

Turkish government-ally, far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on April 9 undermined the local election results while commenting on the government’s attempt to hijack the mayoral elections in the eastern Van province.

In a social media post to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, Bahçeli criticized the granting of the official mayoral license to the Van Co-Mayor Abdullah Zeydan, from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, after a row.

Bahçeli said granting the license to Zeydan “who was legally wrong to run in the election in the first place and who is known to have praised the separatist terrorist organization PKK,” was “a scandal and a mistake.”

“Those who distort a legal issue and turn the streets into a war zone are essentially the executioners of democracy, enemies of the state and the nation. Claiming that (granting the license) is respect for the nation's will is folly and deception. Because the immense will of the Turkish nation is and will be against all kinds of separatists, division, terrorism and terrorists to the end,” he added.

Bahçeli claimed that taking to the streets is not how to seek rights, which “would undermine the indivisible integrity of the state with its country and nation and weaken the state.”

“The Republic of Turkey was not founded through the ballot box. Turkish history was not written in the ballot box. Everyone should come to their senses. With its democratic maturity, historical and cultural acquis, feelings of unity and brotherhood, Turkey will stand out as the epitome of peace, stability, power, prosperity, and security in the future,” he concluded.

What happened?

On April 2, the Van province's election board decided that the candidate of Justice and Development Party (AKP), the second-place finisher who took 27.2 percent of the votes in the city, should be handed the Van mayorship due to a legal issue with Zeydan's candidacy.

Zeydan won the Van metropolitan municipality with co-candidate Neslihan Şedal by an overwhelming 55.48 percent of the votes.

The move reminded Kurds of the appointment of trustee mayors by Ankara to replace HDP mayors after the 2019 local elections.

Thousands of people had protested against the government's efforts to hijack elections in Van despite severe police attacks with tear gas and water cannons.

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) on April 3 overturned the decision and declared Zeydan as Van Mayor.