Nationalist Action Party

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ultranationalist political party in turkey in the 1970s and again in the 1990s.

The Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetci Hareket Partisi, or MHP) was originally known as the Republican Peasants Nation Party, but it adopted its current name in 1969. It developed during the 1970s under the leadership of Alparslan Türkes, a former military colonel. The party had a strong social and ideological base, combining militant nationalism and anticommunism with a strong emphasis on interventionist economic policies and the use of militia-style youth organizations. The Nine Lights of Türkes (nationalism, idealism, morality, corporatism, science, populism, progressivism, technology, and the defense of peasantry) became the ideological basis of the party. Popular support for the MHP was not widespread, but it was stable: The party won 12 percent of the parliamentary seats in 1961, 2 percent in 1965, 1 percent in 1973, and 4 percent in 1977. Throughout the 1970s the party was involved in right-wing violence against leftist groups. Following the 1980 military coup the government closed the MHP, but it reemerged in the 1990s, demonstrating its strength in the 1999 parliamentary elections by securing the second largest number of votes, after the Democratic Left Party of Bülent Ecevit. MHP's legislative representation rose to 23 percent of seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly and its new leader, Devlet Bahçeli, became deputy prime minister in a coalition government formed by Ecevit. Since 1999 MHP has shifted its understanding of nationalism from ethnic to cultural nationalism.

see also ecevit, bÜlent; tÜrkes, alparslan; turkish grand national assembly.


Yavuz, M. Hakan. "The Politics of Fear: The Rise of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) in Turkey." Middle East Journal 56, no. 2 (Spring 2002): 200221.

frank tachau
updated by m. hakan yavuz

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Nationalist Action Party

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Nationalist Action Party