October 23, 2018 / 8:37 AM / 25 days ago

Turkey's Erdogan says to continue cooperation with nationalist party

FILE PHOTO: Devlet Bahceli, leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), gestures as he attends his election rally in Ankara, Turkey June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s ruling AK Party will not form an alliance with the nationalist party for the 2019 local elections, but cooperation between the two parties will continue, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, after the nationalists pulled out of the alliance earlier.

Erdogan’s AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) formed an alliance ahead of June elections, but have since been at loggerheads over a disagreement about the MHP’s call for an amnesty for some jailed criminals. MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said his party would not seek an alliance in the 2019 local election, weakening the lira more than 3 percent.

Speaking to members of his AK Party in parliament, Erdogan said he wanted to carry the alliance into the future, but added that it would run independently from the MHP in the March 2019 local election. The lira firmed to as far as 5.76 to the dollar after his comments.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan

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