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House of Ex-Presidential Candidate Raided After Public Threats From Opponent

A group of protesters showed up Thursday night outside the house of Meral Aksener, former Interior Minister and the leader of Good Party (IYI), who ran for president in last June’s elections, following public threats from the head of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, whom she parted ways with in 2016 to establish her own party and she recently called a “doormat to the presidential palace”.

Aksener, known as “Turkey’s iron lady”, posted a video on her official Twitter account, showing dozens of protesters shouting slogans such as “Devlet Bahceli is the leader of the movement!” in front of her Istanbul house, while she is watching them from her doorway, along with her husband.

She is heard in the video confronting the group by saying “Come here, come here and shoot me! Shoot me if you are a man!” as her husband shouts “We are only two people, come on, if you have the guts!” Aksener and her husband are also heard booing the crowd during the protest.

Tweeting the video at Bahceli (@dbdevletbahceli), she shared a message, where she said “You can’t show bravery through the sons of other mothers. Come over yourself if you are brave enough, we will be waiting.”

The intimidating protest followed a series of tweets from Bahceli earlier in the day. Bahceli’s tweets were in response to Aksener’s criticism of him, calling him “a doormat to the presidential palace” and the “sidekick” of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“This is my last warning to this lady, if you continue your vandalist attitude that crosses the line against the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party], which you want to divide and destroy, you would have to brace yourself for its consequences. Don’t tell me I haven’t warned you, listen to your superior!” Bahceli said in his last tweet addressing Aksener.

Aksener responded his threat by a Turkish idiom that translates to “I wasn’t brought up in the woods to be scared by owls,” adding the detailed address information of the headquarters of her IYI Party in her tweet.

Following the incident, Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu announced that he ordered the Istanbul Governor’s Office to launch an investigation. Police detained on Friday 12 people involved in the protest on charges of “violating the right to peaceful assembly” and “threatening”.

Aksener, who served as Turkey’s Minister of Interior between 1996 and 1997, was a member of the MHP until 2016, when she split with the party’s leader, Bahceli, because of his support for President Erdogan’s goal to amend the country’s constitution to switch to presidential government, which eventually happened, immensely boosting Erdogan’s powers.

Aksener founded her own nationalist party, Good Party (IYI), in 2017. She was dubbed “Turkey’s iron lady” by the international media, after she ran for president against Erdogan, whom she fiercely criticizes, in the latest elections that took place on July 24, 2018.

She was originally deemed a strong contender in the election. Her rallies were either disrupted or banned by some municipalities. In one instance, a power outage occurred at a hotel, where she was addressing a crowd of her supporters.

Meral Aksener’s Presidential Bid Redefines Turkey’s Nationalist Politics

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