Erdogan’s nationalist ally suspends proposal for amnesty bill

Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has announced that it has put an amnesty bill proposal on hold to avoid what it describes as “opposition and disagreeableness” under its alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s nationalist ally and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli on Wednesday indicated in a written statement that they suspended their proposal in order to prevent the exploitation of the issue.

The two leaders’ alliance which was formed after the failed coup attempt targeting Erdogan’s government in 2016, was made official when AKP and MHP made up what they called a People’s Alliance ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2018.

The nationalist MHP’s proposal for the general amnesty bill has long placed the ally parties at odds, mainly due to Erdogan remaining aloof to the idea of a general amnesty.

The draft bill submitted by the MHP on September 24, 2018, aims to relieve pressure on Turkey’s overcrowded jails by reducing five years from the prisoners’ sentences.

It seeks amnesty for more than 160,000 non-political prisoners in Turkey’s jails, including those in jail for drug-related crimes and sexual assault.

Bahceli’s statement came after Erdogan reportedly told his executives during AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Monday that he did not want the amnesty bill to include prisoners from six categories.

The prisoners Erdogan referred to are those convicted for terrorism offenses, sexual assault, voluntary manslaughter, organized criminal activities, drug offenses as well as habitual offenders.

“The MHP, of course, respects the President’s decision. How our party looks at the issue of a reduced sentence and what it aims for is known. But, a political and social picture suitable for misunderstandings and conflicting understandings has emerged,” Bahceli explained on Wednesday.

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