Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, poses for photograph with Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, left, during a ceremony to rejoin the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Ankaraon on May 2, 2017. . He was the head of the party for 13 years from 2001 until 2014 when he was forced to cut his ties with the party in accordance to the previous constitution. Photo: AP /Burhan Ozbilici.
President Erdogan has been re-elected head of the ruling AKP, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
President Erdogan introduces AKP's 50-member Executive Body
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is expected to be elected the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s extraordinary congress, has put forward a list of candidates to the party’s executive management that replaces nearly half of the 50-member governing body. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, who is also the energy minister, have retained their positions.
The list of candidates includes members of the party’s youth organization, injecting what one party official described to Rudaw as “fresh blood” to the party in preparation for the next general elections scheduled for 2019 that will bring into full effect the constitutional changes narrowly approved by voters in last month’s referendum.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and his predecessor, Efkan Ala, will join the Central Decision and Executive Board, according to Erdogan’s list. Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ are among those keeping their positions.
In total, Erdogan removed 19 current members from the party’s governing body.
The party is yet to vote on Erdogan’s candidacy today as chairperson. He is the only candidate to stand in the election.
ANKARA, Turkey – The ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to elect President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its leader on Sunday's extraordinary congress after the Turkish voters approved a set of constitutional changes that allows for the president to maintain political ties.
President Erdogan is the only candidate standing for the top leadership role, and the incumbent AKP leader has offered to quit his post, paving the way for Erdogan to take charge of the party that has dominated the Turkish politics for over a decade.
The head of the AKP's parliamentry group has to be a lawmaker, so Yildirim would earn the position of the acting leader of the party in Turkey's parliament until 2019 general elections.
President Erdogan gives a great deal of importance to rejoining the party, especially after he was forced to cut ties in 2014 with the AKP which he co-founded. But the extraordinary congress is also expected to make some extensive changes in the party’s program and leadership, designed to help prepare the party to the next general elections scheduled in 2019.
The full extent of the 18-articles amended in the Turkish referendum in April will come into effect after the 2019 elections, importantly abolishing the prime minister’s position currently held by the AKP’s leader Yildirim. Turkish president would instead become the head of the state, and use unprecedented executive powers.
President Erdogan signed his AKP membership in early May in a ceremony also attended by PM Yildirim who welcomed him back to what he called the “home that you founded.”
When Erdogan signed his papers to rejoin the party, he then said that his yearning for the party ended after “979 days” and that “today I am returning to my home, my love, my passion.”
The 63-years-old president and father of four children is said to have called once the AKP as his fifth.
He was the head of the party for 13 years from its foundation in 2001 until August 2014 when he was elected president due to the legal requirement of the previous constitution that conditioned the president to be politically impartial.
The AKP was co-founded in 2001 by Erdogan and Abdullah Gull, who has also held the positions of the Turkish president and prime minister.
The AKP has invited Gull to the congress, but he said he is not attending it.
The AKP won 363 of 550 seats in parliament in the 2002 election.
Previously, Erdogan was a member of the Welfare Party, an Islamic party, which was banned. He was imprisoned in 1998 after publicly reading an Islamic poem, and thus barred from holding public office.
With the help of Republican People's Party (CHP) and its leader Deniz Baykal in 2002, the Turkish parliament soon overturned Erdogan's political ban.
In 2003, Erdogan won a seat in the Province of Siirt through a by-election — after the 2002 general election Siirt result was declared null and void by the YSK.
He became Prime Minister in March 2003 until winning the 2014 presidential election.
April 16 Constitutional changes
Turkish people voted for constitutional changes that number 18 articles in total on April 16, in a historic vote like no other, nearly one century on since the birth of the new Turkish state. It changed the Turkish system to an executive presidential system with unprecedented powers in the hands of the president.
It was about a year after a failed coup that attempted to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that has been ruling the country since early 2000s, and was conducted under a state of emergency that has been in place since last summer and extended several times.
The AKP, its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and President Erdogan argued that a presidential system works best in the interest of the country's development and stability.
Their critics however, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), argued that the constitutional change could lead to an ever increasing authoritarian regime under the current president.
The Kurdish-focused HDP also campaigned that the new constitution does not include any articles that may improve the lives of the Kurdish population who have for decades campaigned for greater rights.
The CHP said that the changes amount to a regime change, a phrase that the president Erdogan strongly opposed.
President Erdogan may stay in power until 2029 as he would have the right to stand in the presidential elections for two more five-year terms under the new constitution.
The proposed constitution also allows for the president to maintain ties to a political party.
Under the new constitution, the president would have the power to propose the country’s annual budget proposal to parliament, and replace Turkey’s Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors with a new body of just 13 members, three of whom would be named by the president, while the rest would be elected by the parliament, chaired by the justice minister under the new name of the Judges and Prosecutors’ Council.