Meral Akşener

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Meral Akşener
Meral Akşener İYİ Party 1 (cropped).jpg
Leader of the İYİ Party
Assumed office
25 October 2017
Preceded byParty established
Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly
In office
10 August 2007 – 7 June 2015
SpeakerKöksal Toptan
Mehmet Ali Şahin
Cemil Çiçek
Served withSadık Yakut
Mehmet Sağlam [tr]
Güldal Mumcu
Ayşe Nur Bahçekapılı
Nevzat Pakdil [tr]
Eyyüp Cenap Gülpınar [tr]
Preceded byYılmaz Ateş [tr]
Succeeded byKoray Aydın
Minister of the Interior
In office
8 November 1996 – 30 June 1997
Prime MinisterNecmettin Erbakan
Preceded byMehmet Ağar
Succeeded byMurat Başesgioğlu
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
22 July 2007 – 1 November 2015
Constituencyİstanbul (III) (2007, 2011, Jun 2015)
In office
24 December 1995 – 3 November 2002
Constituencyİstanbul (1995)
Kocaeli (1999)
Personal details
Born (1956-07-18) 18 July 1956 (age 64)
İzmit, Turkey
Political party İYİ Party (2017–present)
Other political
True Path Party (1995–2001)
Nationalist Movement Party (2001–2016)
Tuncer Akşener
m. 1980)
ChildrenFatih Akşener
Alma materIstanbul University
Marmara University
OccupationPolitician, academic, historian

Meral Akşener (born 18 July 1956) is a Turkish politician, teacher, historian and academic. 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 İYİ Party, of which she is the leader.

Early and personal life[edit]

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 Turks from Kato Ioniko village Xanthi.[1][2] They were among hundreds of thousands who left Greece to resettle in Turkey in 1923.[3]

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.[2]

Akşener has been described as a devout Muslim who prays regularly.[4] She is known to her supporters as Asena, after the mythical she-wolf.[4]


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.[2] She was later forced out of office after the 1997 military memorandum.[5]

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).[2]

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.[2]

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.[5] She received 7.3% of the votes.[6]

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.[3] 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.[7] 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."[7] 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.[3]


  1. ^ Biography
  2. ^ a b c d e "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi 23. Dönem Milletvekili-Meral Akşener" (in Turkish). TBMM. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  3. ^ a b c 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.
  4. ^ a b "A challenge to Turkey's Erdogan". The Economist. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b Malsin, Jared. "Turkey's 'Iron Lady' Meral Aksener Is Getting Ready to Challenge Erdogan". Time. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Erdogan tightens grip with Turkey poll win". 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ a b "Akşener hints at run for presidency in 2019 as she forms 'Good Party'". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-10-26.

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