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This woman may be biggest opposition to Erdogan

Meral Aksener, a rare female heavyweight in Turkish politics, may be the long-awaited leader to thwart Erdogan’s authoritarian ambitions.
Meral Aksener (C), former interior minister and a lawmaker from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), stands before the security barriers as police seal off a hotel, preventing dissidents from holding a party congress, in Ankara, Turkey, May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tumay Berkin - RTSEDGJ
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After weeks of uncertainty and foot-dragging, the Appeals Court this week made a critical ruling, setting the stage for a potential shakeup in Turkish politics that may block President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s drive for an executive presidency. The court gave the green light for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to hold a convention requested by in-house dissidents seeking to remake the party, whose erosion in recent years has played directly into Erdogan’s hands. Leading the dissidents is Meral Aksener, a rare female heavyweight on Turkey’s political scene, whose fortunes may now change not only the MHP’s but also Turkey’s course.

The MHP, currently the smallest party in parliament, has traditionally been an influential force in Turkish politics — although it has never passed the 20% mark in elections, even in the days of its iconic leader, Alparslan Turkes, an army officer who was a leading figure in the 1960 coup and who chaired the party until his death in 1997.

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