Former Interior Minister of Turkey launches party to challenge Erdogan

World Today

In Turkey, a potential rival to President Erdogan is emerging. Former Interior Minister Meral Aksener has just launched a new political party: the “Good Party.” She is seen by many as a prospective presidential candidate in the 2019 election.

CGTN’s Michal Bardavid has the story.

Follow Michal Bardavid on Twitter @michal_bardavid

With a bright yellow sun as its logo, the just-launched “Good Party” vows a bright, fresh future for Turkey. The leader of the party: Meral Aksener, a 61-year-old former Interior Minister known to her supporters as the “she-wolf.”

“Turkey and its people are tired, the state is worn down and public order is unraveling,” Aksener claimed in a speech. “There is no other way for Turkey than a change in the political climate.”

Aksener was a prominent member of the far-right “MHP” Nationalist Movement Party but was expelled when she launched a bid to unseat the party leader, Devlet Bahceli.

So far, the new Good Party has been backed by five members of the Turkish parliament.

Aksener made a controversial move when she decided to campaign against Turkey’s shift to a Presidential system during last years’ referendum in April. This resulted in a major split within the national movement party, since Bahceli campaigned in support of the transition.

Aksener is openly critical of President Erdogan and has promised to unite rather than divide the nation—something Erdogan has been frequently criticized for.

She has promised to bring justice, democracy and stability to the country, while also stressing the need for freedom of the media.

Though many in Turkey view Aksener as a potential threat to Erdogan as a presidential candidate during the upcoming 2019 elections, some experts stress that gaining extensive public support may be very challenging.

“The groups that support AK Party and the Republican People’s Party—their support and the way they identify with the party, it’s very strong,” explained Yunus Emre, an associate professor at Istanbul Kultur University. “I don’t believe that these groups would shift towards any other candidate while their own party has one.”

Aksener is a prominent politician who is well-respected by the Turkish public. She has a chance to bring change, but it’s still an open question whether or not she can deliver.