*UPDATES WITH MHP VICE CHAIRMAN COMMENT
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will hold an extraordinary congress next month to challenge party leader Devlet Bahceli, dissident members said Monday.
In a statement, the dissidents said the congress will be held on June 19 at Ankara’s Buyuk Anadolu Hotel.
The meeting is to be held in an attempt to unseat Bahceli, chairman of the MHP since 1997, following the party’s poor performance in the November general election.
Party members opposed to his leadership have been fighting since January to stage a congress. On May 15, police prevented members from holding a meeting in Ankara before the Supreme Court upheld an earlier court decision to allow the congress.
Following the announcement, MHP vice chairman Semih Yalcin said Monday evening that the party’s chairman and its central executive board would not attend the dissidents’ congress.
He reiterated Bahceli’s position regarding a congress in July.
"Our party will hold an extraordinary congress along with an election on July 10, 2016, Sunday, at the Ankara Arena Sports Hall," Bahceli had said in a written statement issued last Wednesday.
He also made it clear that he 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."