Turkish Nationalist Party Shuts Door on Coalition With Davutoglu

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Ahmet Davutoglu and Devlet Bahceli
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, meets with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli in Ankara, on Tuesday, July 14. Photographer: Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images

The nationalist MHP won’t participate in a coalition government, Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after talks with the party, raising the prospect of fresh elections later this year.

Davutoglu told reporters following a meeting with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli on Tuesday that the party appeared unwilling to negotiate further even if coalition negotiations with other political groups fail. “We respect MHP’s political choices,” but Turkey should not be left without a government, he said.

The ruling AK Party that Davutoglu leads lost its parliamentary majority in an election June 7. Davutolu has until mid-August to form a coalition or face a new poll.

After MHP emerged as the third-largest party from the June election, Bahceli insisted that the result meant his party should stay in opposition, allowing AK Party to form a coalition with either the main opposition CHP or pro-Kurdish HDP. Bahceli has said he would only consider entering government if peace talks with Kurdish rebel group PKK end and the influence of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is curtailed.

Davutoglu left the door open for a further meeting with Bahceli after the Ramadan holiday. “The interests of the country are the only thing that matters,” he said. “Leaders can review the situation again.”

Davutoglu’s meeting with Bahceli was the second with party leaders in an initial round of coalition negotiations. After meeting CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Monday, Davutoglu said the ruling AK Party would be continuing coalition talks with CHP.

For more, read this QuickTake: Turkey’s Continental Divide

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