Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has targeted columnists from opposition newspaper Karar after they criticized Bahçeli for staying silent on the armed attack against Future Party deputy leader Selçuk Özdağ, which is believed to have been carried out by members of the MHP-linked Gray Wolves (Ülkücü movement).
Bahçeli listed the names of the columnists in a statement shared on Twitter on Jan. 18 and said they “should not underestimate the MHP.”
“The hired pens of Karar newspaper, for example, Elif Çakır, for example, Yıldıray Oğur, for example, Taha Akyol and other so-called writers who do not have a column, they should not underestimate and defame the MHP. Because they have already fallen in the pit which they have themselves dug and gotten caught with their faces which are not going red,” Bahçeli wrote.
Karar Gazetesi’nin kiralık köşe yazarları, mesela Elif Çakır, mesela Yıldıray Oğur, mesela Taha Akyol ve diğer köşesiz sözde yazarlar MHP’yi hafife almasınlar, MHP’ye kara çalmasınlar. Çünkü kazdıkları kuyuya çoktan düşmüşler, kızarmayan yüzleriyle yakayı ele vermişlerdir.— Devlet Bahçeli (@dbdevletbahceli) January 18, 2021
Bahçeli also denied that the assailants had any links to the MHP, saying such a discourse amounted to a “plot” against the party. “Those who are feeding on the language of terrorism are daring to link the Nationalist-Ülkücü movement with attacks which the movement is not part of. This is slander, a plot,” he said.
Bahçeli's remarks came after Karar columnists criticized him for staying silent on the assaults against Özdağ and newspaper Yeniçağ journalist Orhan Uğuroğlu which took place on Jan. 15 in the capital Ankara.
The attacks occurred a couple of days after Özdağ criticized the MHP in remarks which were published in a piece penned by Uğuroğlu.
In his column, Oğur said the MHP was engaged in a “pragmatic” relationship with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while Akyol and Çakır channeled their criticism on Karar TV during a program with Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu.