UPDATE WITH BAHCELI's REMARKS ON 2019 LOCAL ELECTIONS
By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader on Tuesday called on Germany to recognize what they call the "Gulen movement" as a terrorist organization, the group behind the foiled 2016 coup in Turkey.
"As long as FETO [the Fetullah Terrorist Organization] is called the Gulen movement [in Germany], how could these traitors and assassins in Europe be fought against?" Devlet Bahceli asked during his party's parliamentary group session.
Bahceli said Germany has been misjudging the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Germany needs more information and evidence about the group to categorize it as a terrorist group, just as it did for the terrorist PKK. Turkey says it has submitted ample evidence already.
"If Germany respects Turkey's sovereignty rights, it should recognize FETO as a terrorist organization, a villainous group even worse than the PKK," said Bahceli.
Bahceli also called on Germany to extradite FETO members to Turkey.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
– Local polls
The MHP leader also predicted success for his party in the March 2019 local elections.
"Excluding Greater Istanbul, we will take part in the local elections by nominating our candidates everywhere, every election region, every province, every district," said Bahceli.
"We will definitely succeed, we will get the best results," he added.
Bahceli stressed that they remain loyal to the People's Alliance formed with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party ahead of June's general elections, an alliance which has continued in parliament.