The National Movement Party ("Milliyetci Hareket Partisi", MHP), founded by Alparslan Turkes in the 1960s, can already look back on an active history. This article, however, concerns itself with contemporary information.
After the military coup of September 12, 1980, the MHP, like all other parties, was banned. Turkes, who was arrested shortly after the putsch and put on trial, was released from prison for health reasons in April 1985 and sentenced in 1987 to an 11-year prison term, which he did not have to serve on account of an amnesty law which was passed.
In the meantime, the National Workers Party ("Milliyetci Calisma Partisi", MCP) was founded in 1983 as a successor to the MHP. Other former MHP members had already joined the ranks of other parties, such as the Motherland Party (ANAP) of T. Ozal. Turkes became chairman of the MCP after the ban on political activity against certain party functionaries was lifted after a (close) referendum on September 6, 1987. As of 1992, the party has returned to its tradition in both words and deeds and is once again known as the MHP.
Initially, the MCP/MHP did not have much success in elections. An election alliance with the Islamic fundamentalist Welfare Party (RP) of N. Erbakan (and another small party, the IDP) won close to 17% of the vote in parliamentary elections on October 22, 1991. But the MHP's share of these votes was probably quite small. After the elections, the alliance fell apart, partly since no further long-term cooperation was planned.
During regional elections in March 1994, the MHP won close to 8% of the vote (compared to just over 4% in 1989). The party won the most votes in the following provinces: Kastamonu, Cankiri, Yozgat, Kirsehir, Kars, and Erzincan (in 1989: Kirikkale, Yozgat, Erzincan, and Elazig). There were, therefore, MHP governors in 6 of the country's 76 provinces.
A significant portion of the MHP's election propaganda, and most of its public activity in general, is dedicated to spreading anti-Kurdish hatred. At the parliamentary political level, the MHP plays an important role in formulating nationalist state propaganda, which has been directed against the Kurdish people more and more since the 1980s, particulary through creating a fiendish image of the PKK.
For example, in 1992, Turkes stated that the "separatists", in other words the PKK, were been trained in camps located in Greek-controlled southern Cyprus. (This connecting of "old" enemies with contemporary themes is a favorite activity of Turkes. He thereby draws the Greeks into the matter, too. For a while, Turkish newspapers spread rumors that PKK members were primarily Armenians.)
That same year, Turkes stated publically once again that the Kurds had descended from the Turkish "race".
"Every vote for the MHP is a blow against the PKK", Turkes said, during an election rally before the regional elections in March 1994, as he made the Grey Wolves hand-sign with his hands. (MHP members sometimes operate under the name "Bozkurt", which means Grey Wolves. - trans.)
Another significant pillar of the MHP's ideology is the foolish dream of creating the Turan, the Great Turkish Empire. Thus, they pay close attention to developments in the countries of the former Soviet Union where so-called Turkish peoples live, namely Azerbaidjan, Turkmenistan, Kazachstan, Uzbekistan, and Kirgistan. The "Basbug" (a word which roughly means leader, in this case Turkes - trans.) is not an unknown figure in those lands.
More important than election results in the MHP's influence on state institutions, and this influence is not insignificant. But the MHP's election success in March 1994 has made the party more bold. According to reports from people who recently visited Turkey, MHP fascists are now appearing publically more than they ever have in the past; they even put Grey Wolves symbols on their cars. Attacks on leftists and unfavored student associations at various universities have not only been carried out by Islamic fundamentalists over the past few years, but also by Grey Wolves as well.
(Source: Inisiyatif #5)
On November 26, 1994, more than 10,000 members (organizers put the number as high as 30,000) of the Turkish ultra-nationalist organization MHP (National Movement Party) gathered in the German town of Sindelfingen to hear speeches by their leader, Alparslan Turkes. Turkish fascists from all across Germany, as well as from Austria and The Netherlands, attended the event. Turkish prime minister Ciller sent her greetings to the event via telephone, thus clearly illustrasting the level of close cooperation which exists between the Turkish government and the Turkish far-right.
The MHP, also known by the name "Bozkurt" (Grey Wolves), stands for racist, fascist terror. Human rights experts in Turkey make the organization responsible for more than 4,000 murders, primarily of Kurds, Turkish leftists, and progressive journalists and union leaders. Its most deadly action was an attack on the May Day rally in Istanbul in 1977 which left 35 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Today, the Turkish army and special forces actively recruit MHP members to fight in special commando units in Turkey's dirty war against the Kurdish national liberation struggle.