Meral Akşener (born 18 July 1956) is a Turkish politician. She served as Minister of the Interior and was a vice-speaker of the Parliament. In 2016, she led a group of opposition within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) against its leader Devlet Bahçeli. On 25 October 2017, she founded the İyi Party, of which she is the leader.
|Leader of İyi Party|
|Assumed office |
25 October 2017
|Preceded by||Party established|
|Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly|
10 August 2007 – 7 June 2015
Mehmet Ali Şahin
|Served with||Sadık Yakut|
Ayşe Nur Bahçekapılı
Eyyüp Cenap Gülpınar
|Preceded by||Yılmaz Ateş|
|Succeeded by||Koray Aydın|
|Minister of the Interior|
8 November 1996 – 30 June 1997
|Prime Minister||Necmettin Erbakan|
|Preceded by||Mehmet Ağar|
|Succeeded by||Murat Başesgioğlu|
|Member of the Grand National Assembly|
22 July 2007 – 1 November 2015
|Constituency||İstanbul (III) (2007, 2011, Jun 2015)|
24 December 1995 – 3 November 2002
|Born||18 July 1956|
|Political party||True Path Party (1995–2001)|
Nationalist Movement Party (2001–2016)
İyi Party (2017–present)
Tuncer Akşener (m. 1980)
|Alma mater||Istanbul University|
|Occupation||Politician, academic, historian|
Early and personal lifeEdit
Meral Akşener was born on 18 July 1956, in the Gündoğdu neighborhood of İzmit, Kocaeli. Her father Tahir Ömer and her mother Sıddıka are Balkan Muslims from Kato Ioniko village Xanthi. They were among hundreds of thousands who left Greece to resettle in Turkey in 1923.
She studied history at Istanbul University and she completed her post-graduate studies at the Social Sciences Institute of Marmara University, earning a Ph.D. in history. She then worked as a lecturer at Yıldız Technical University, Kocaeli University and Marmara University before entering politics.
She quit her post as a university department chair in 1994 and entered politics with the general elections in 1995 as deputy of Istanbul Province with the True Path Party (DYP). Akşener was Minister of the Interior between 8 November 1996 and 30 June 1997, replacing Mehmet Ağar, who resigned as a result of his involvement in the Susurluk scandal. She was later forced out of office after the 1997 military memorandum.
Akşener was re-elected to parliament in the 1999 general election as deputy of Kocaeli Province. Later, she was re-elected in the general elections of 2007 and 2011 representing Istanbul Province as a member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
She was elected vice-speaker of the parliament alongside Güldal Mumcu, another female politician, serving at this post after Nermin Neftçi, who was elected in 1968 to be Turkey's first female vice-speaker.
She split with the MHP leadership in 2016 over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bid to transform Turkey’s constitution, and promised to start her own political party. She was a 2018 presidential candidate. She received 7.3% of the votes.
She announced the foundation of the Good Party on 25 October 2017 and revealed its logo and aims. “I call it the movement of the brave,” she said. In her first address to her followers, Akşener stated she believed that Turkish democracy is "under threat" and the Good Party wants a free society and to fix the problems of the Turkish judiciary system. Akşener further stated the "media should not be under pressure. Democratic participation, a strong parliament and the national will are irreplaceable. We will democratize the law on political parties in the of contemporary democratic principles and the criteria of the Venice Commission." Aksener said that many who are joining her movement are young Turkish citizens who are "chafing under the restrictions" imposed by the government on public gatherings, freedom of expression, and constraints placed on the media.
- "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi 23. Dönem Milletvekili-Meral Akşener" (in Turkish). TBMM. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Gall, Carlotta (5 January 2018). "A Rival Steps Up to Challenge Turkey's President Erdogan". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
The daughter of a civil servant, Ms. Aksener grew up in a small rural village in western Turkey. Her family was among the hundreds of thousands resettled from Greece in the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in 1923.
- "A challenge to Turkey's Erdogan". The Economist. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- Malsin, Jared. "Turkey's 'Iron Lady' Meral Aksener Is Getting Ready to Challenge Erdogan". Time. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "Erdogan tightens grip with Turkey poll win". 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
- "Akşener hints at run for presidency in 2019 as she forms 'Good Party'". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-10-26.