Interview with Dr. Oktay Vural (Part I): Being a Nationalist in Turkey: The Past and Present of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Idealist Movement

As Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey), we conducted an interview – to be published in two parts – with Dr. Oktay Vural, MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) deputy from İzmir and the Group Deputy Chairman in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Mr Vural has held offices as a politician and a legist, as well as a bureaucrat and an academician; he served he served as Turkish Minister of Transportation from August 2001 onwards at the coalition government, consisting of Democratic Left Party (DSP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Motherland Party (ANAP) that lasted between 1999 and 2002. He began his bureaucratic career at State Planning Organization of Turkey (DPT) in 1980, and proceeded as a high-ranking official in various departments. Vural completed his Bachelor’s in the Department of Law at Istanbul University, received his Ph.D. in Economics at Izmir Dokuz Eylül University in 1987, and later served as an Assistant Professor at these universities. Once elected as a MHP member of the TBMM at the 1999 General Election, Vural has taken on several important tasks within his party, and still fiercely advocates for MHP’s policies to this date as the Group Deputy Chairman. In the first part of this interview, we have discussed the worldwide debate about nationalism and nationalistic movement. Based on the views of a former Minister and a current Group Deputy Chairman of MHP, we labour to investigate and share at first hand and uncensored account of the past and the present of MHP, the idealist movement, and the meaning of nationalism in Turkey.

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3 thoughts on “Interview with Dr. Oktay Vural (Part I): Being a Nationalist in Turkey: The Past and Present of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Idealist Movement

  1. Nancy G.

    Thanks to you for this priceless interview. As far as I know MHP is the top voted racist political party in Europe, I remember 18% in 1999. However, the picture drawn here indicates we should change some of our reserves. Mr. Vural’s nationalism description is quite different and it should be accepted as a progress. Hopefully racism will be a bad story of the past, and the emphasis on cultural nationalism is very much appreciated! One shortcoming is Kurdish movement cannot be ignored as well as Kurdish nationalists, some of which still seem to be very racist, though Mr. Vural does not even accept them as a legitimate ethnic group!

    1. Selim Yılmaz

      I dont think you really understand the context of this interview. Because you blame MHP for being racist without regard to Mr. Vural’s statement. I also want you to know that being a Kurdish nationalist requires to justify terror.
      That was a great interview thank you for this work

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