ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will hold its extraordinary congress on July 10 despite plans by party dissidents to organize it weeks earlier, MHP chairman announced Tuesday.
Addressing a meeting of the party's parliamentary group in Ankara, Devlet Bahceli said: "We will change our party regulations and hold elections at an extraordinary congress on July 10. We do not accept any other congress date apart from that."
Dissidents within the party announced Monday that they will organize their own congress on June 19 at the Buyuk Anadolu Hotel in the capital to challenge Bahceli’s leadership, following the party’s poor performance in general elections last year.
Bahceli called for not paying attention to dissidents and their planned congress "under any circumstances."
He said that if the objective was to organize a party congress, then the dissidents should accept the July 10 date. "What is that they desire? Which objectives do they pursue?"
MHP Vice Chairman Semih Yalcin said Monday evening that the party chairman and its central executive board would not attend the congress organized by dissidents.
Bahceli, who has been chairing the party since 1997, will remain in the race for the top slot. "Whoever declares to run for the MHP chair, he or she will have to compete with me," he had previously said.