ANKARA (AA) - Just weeks after dissident members of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were blocked from holding an extraordinary congress, Turkey’s Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed their bid to convene a congress that might lead to new party leadership.
The Supreme Court upheld an Ankara civil court decision green-lighting the congress, reversing a court that had overruled the decision on May 13.
MHP Deputy Chair Semih Yalcin said after the ruling that party leader Devlet Bahceli had set June 26 or July 10 for the extraordinary congress. Yalcin also said Bahceli would stand for party leader again, according to local media outlets.
After the party won just 40 seats in parliament in last November’s general elections, MHP Deputy Umit Ozdag and former MPs Koray Aydin, Meral Aksener, and Sinan Ogan have pushed for the ouster of Bahceli, who has led the party since 1997.
Sinan Ogan and Meral Aksener praised today’s ruling on their official Twitter accounts.
On May 15, based on earlier court rulings, Turkish police prevented dissident party members from holding an extraordinary congress in capital Ankara.
The legal wrangling began this January 2016 when a group of dissident MHP members applied to party headquarters to convene an extraordinary congress. Frustrated by the lack of a positive response, in February they filed a case with the 12th Ankara Civil Court of Peace.
The court decided in April to appoint trustees to the party and send them to a congress, as the dissidents had gathered 531 signatures out of 1,232 party delegates.
Party authorities appealed the verdict but two Ankara courts, Ankara's 15th Enforcement Directorate and Ankara’s 2nd Enforcement Court, gave conflicting rulings on May 13, just days before the congress was due to be held.
But Tuesday’s Supreme Court unanimous ruling left the party leadership no recourse but to proceed with an extraordinary congress.