Turkish opposition İYİ Party elects new leader in extraordinary congress

In an extraordinary congress, Müsavat Dervişoğlu has been elected as the new İYİ Party leader. Dervişoğlu had received the previous leader Meral Akşener's support, who resigned after the local election defeat.

Duvar English

Turkey’s nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party held the 5th Extraordinary Congress on April 27 following Meral Akşener’s resignation. The party members have elected Müsavat Dervişoğlu, the parliamentary group deputy chair, in the third round.

Akşener had supported Dervişoğlu in the race, who competed against group chair Koray Aydın, the deputy party chair Tolga Akalın, and Günay Kodaz. 

1178 delegates voted out of 1302, while Dervişoğlu received 611 votes in the third round, with Aydın remaining at 548.

Despite receiving 9.69 percent of the votes in the 2023 general elections and securing 43 parliamentary seats, the party remained at 3.77 percent in the March 31st local elections after it withdrew from the main opposition People’s Alliance.

The party gained only one municipality at the provincial level, which is the central Nevşehir.

The İYİ Party was founded in 2017 as a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) splinter. The latter has remained in the ruling alliance since then.

In her final speech as the party leader, Akşener defended the policies she pursued throughout her reign and emphasized that she “did not refrain from paying the price” for the risks she took.

“I am standing in front of you for the last time with the peace of mind that I have done everything that has fallen on me. I am standing in front of you for the last time with the happiness of having made the voice of the nation heard without entering into any account, any bargain, any fraud. I am standing in front of you for the last time with the peace of mind that I have fought without giving up even for a moment, just like the first day we founded the İYİ Party. You asked me for a home, and I made you a home. You will keep this home standing from now on,” she said.

Some deputies and party members were seen crying after Akşener.

The İYİ Party elected a new leader five months after the CHP following the opposition's defeat in the 2023 general and presidential elections. Similarly, Özgür Özel was elected as the new CHP leader in a party congress in November, but unlike Akşener, former CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was a candidate and lost.

After his election, Dervişoğlu took the stage with Tolga Akalın and Koray Aydın, and said, “Everyone should be sure, nothing will be the same anymore.”

“I didn't win a race because we didn't compete with anyone. As of today, we will embrace each other and heal our wounds. Then, we will continue our journey to the government with Koray Aydın, Tolga Akalın, and all of you who have worked hard for this cause. How happy is the one who says I am a Turk,” he concluded.

Dervişoğlu was elected as a parliamentary deputy in the western İzmir province in the 2018 and 2023 general elections.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel congratulated Dervişoğlu and wished “good health and happiness in her future life” to Meral Akşener.

President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also called Dervişoğlu to congratulate him.

Dervişoğlu served as the chair of the Grey Wolves between 1987 and 1989, a group that is banned in several European countries due to their constant attacks. He served as the MHP İzmir head between 2000-2011 and was elected as MHP deputy in 2011.