Devlet Bahçeli (born 1 January 1948) is a Turkish politician who has been the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) since 6 July 1997.
An academic in economics at Gazi University in Ankara until 1987, he served as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government of Bülent Ecevit (1999–2002). Elected in the province of Osmaniye, he has been an MP in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey since 22 July 2007.
Education and work
Born in the rural district of Bahçe in the province of Osmaniye, Bahçeli attended primary school there. He moved to Istanbul for his secondary education. Bahçeli received his higher education from the scientific academy in Ankara and his doctorate from Gazi University in Ankara. Bahçeli served as a lecturer for economics at Gazi University before entering political life in 1987.
In 1987, Devlet Bahçeli became a member of the board of the Nationalist Task Party (MÇP), which was officially renamed the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) during a congress on 24 January 1993. Following the death on 5 April 1997 of the founder and leader, Alparslan Türkeş, he became on 6 July 1997 the second chairman of the MHP. From 1999 to 2002, Bahçeli served as a deputy prime minister in the coalition government (DSP-ANAP-MHP) of Bülent Ecevit.
In the 2007 general elections, Devlet Bahçeli led the MHP list in the province of Osmaniye. His parliamentary list polled 44.90% (99,565 votes) and won two of the four provincial seats.
In the 2011 general elections, he led the MHP list in the province of Osmaniye. His parliamentary list polled 41.22% (110,708 votes) and won two of the four provincial seats.
In 2015 a Uighur staffed, Turkish owned Chinese restaurant was assaulted by Turkish nationalists; they also attacked the Dutch consulate, mistaking it for the Russian consulate and assaulted several South Korean tourists, believing them to be Chinese. Devlet Bahçeli said that the attacks by MHP affiliated Turkish youth on South Korean tourists was "understandable", telling the Turkish news paper Hürriyet that: "What feature differentiates a Korean from a Chinese? They see that they both have slanted eyes. How can they tell the difference?". Another translation of his remarks was : "What is the difference between a Korean and a Chinese anyway? They both have slitty eyes. Does it make any difference?"
He accused Russia for the Turkish soldiers, who were shot in an accident by Russian fighter planes in 2017. He said; "Russia shoots our soldiers, then disgusts them. This is a mistaken, shameful, international law said to count".
Also, he has stated that the forceful deportation of the Armenians from Turkey was an "absolutely correct" act, referring to the 1915 events in which 1,5 million Ottoman Armenians lost their lives, and that "it should be done again if the circumstances were the same".