Ankara, Aug 6 () - A senior government official has dismissed claims that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are holding talks in an effort to form a coalition.
“I had two meetings with MHP deputy leader Semih Yalçın. But these were not coalition talks,” Labor Minister Faruk Çelik said in an interview with Habertürk TV on Aug 5.
The AKP has established two different commissions to pursue possible coalition formulas, with Çelik leading the one dealing with the MHP. However, as the MHP rejected an AKP proposal to launch exploratory talks, the only track remained between the AKP and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
It was only natural for political parties to be in contact with each other, Çelik said, adding that these meetings should not be represented as secret, closed-door meetings.
Recalling that they had conducted coalition talks in a transparent and open way and that they had completed exploratory talks with the CHP, Çelik said, “But the agreement with the MHP was to keep communication channels open and to exchange views about the developments if need be.”
Çelik also said a meeting between Davutoğlu and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli could be possible if necessary. Repeating that his two meetings with his interlocutor were only to discuss the two parties’ red lines, he said, “But I repeat: As we had no decision to launch coalition talks, these meetings were just part of the need to keep dialogue between the two parties.”
Ankara has been discussing the possibility that the AKP could form a minority government that would be supported by the MHP on the condition that the country goes to the polls in November.
CHP awaits phone call from Davutoğlu
In the meantime, CHP spokesperson Haluk Koç said they had not received any invitation from the AKP to hold a meeting at the leaders’ level in a bid to decide whether to launch official negotiations in light of the results of preliminary talks. “We are awaiting the move of the AKP. I think Mr. Prime Minister will take his decision after concluding his evaluations” Koç said.
The two parties’ delegations separately submitted reports to their leaders for their final decision on the fate of what many call a grand coalition.
The deadline for making a government expires on Aug. 23.