In November, Erdoğan vowed to undertake a series of legal reforms in the face of growing political and economic pressure, raising expectations that prominent political prisoners including former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş were set to be released.
Demirtaş has been detained since 2016 despite several rulings for his release by both Turkish courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He faces a sentence of up to 142 years for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
But Bahçeli, a close Erdoğan ally since forming an electoral pact with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2018, said he opposed the release of Demirtaş and other prisoners.
“The independent and impartial Turkish judiciary should stop the efforts to extract a monument of democracy from an imprisoned terrorist.” Bahçeli said on social media.
“It should be confirmed whether they are legally criminals or not. This should be the priority of the legal reforms.” he added.
Responding to Bahçeli, the HDP said it would bring democracy to Turkey despite the attitude of the MHP leader.
“Those who take shelter in the comfortable shade of the (presidential) palace, are the real enemies of this country. If you close your mouth instead of closing down the HDP, you will be doing a great favour to the future of the country,” the party said.