AKP to analyze big city losses in referendum
Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to launch a comprehensive analysis over the April 16 referendum results that resulted in a narrow if controversial victory, with the party to focus on losses in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara following directives from the president.
According to sources familiar with the content of an April 17 cabinet meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked his AKP colleagues to evaluate the result within 15 days, especially the reasons for the victory of the “no” votes in big cities, particularly Istanbul and Ankara, and the effects of municipalities and provincial party organizations on this results.
“All ministers should focus on the action from now on. But we have seen that service is not sufficient by itself; they should work focusing on humans. Produce projects which will appeal to the public,” Erdoğan said, according to sources.
According to the information received from sources, the cabinet meeting held just after the referendum lasted 90 minutes. In the meeting, none of the government’s activities except the referendum results were on the table. Following briefings from prime minister and ministers, Erdoğan expressed his opinion about the results and his conclusions on what should be done afterwards.
Erdoğan first stated that the cities where “no” votes won should be examined.
“In the week when the referendum decision passed parliament, the polls indicated 36 to 38 percent support for this amendment. And the support from the AKP base was no more than 70 percent. Fifty-one percent in such a short period of time is a success, a victory. As you could see, the polls have swayed from side to side,” Erdoğan said.
“What should be done next is to analyze this result well. In order to do this, the headquarters should conduct a study. The reasons behind the victory for the ‘no’ votes in big cities, especially in Istanbul and Ankara, should be analyzed well. Where did we make mistakes? What were the deficiencies that should be evaluated? We should see the effect of municipalities and party organizations in this result,” he added.
Erdoğan also paid attention to the results in the cities in the east and southeastern region.
“The support from east and southeast is important. It shows that people are content with the services that we have given recently. The determination of the state in its fight against terror has received support from the public. We cannot compromise it,” he said.
“We have to work to enhance public support in those cities. The more the pressure from the terrorist organization decreases, the more the situation changes. We have to deepen the trust in the government and state in the region,” he added.
Erdoğan also directed ministers to conduct projects which focus on social issues.
“There should be projects that will appeal to the whole public. New plans, projects and services are important, but service is never enough for success,” he said.
According to the sources, Erdoğan also rebuked ministers who represent cities that were won by the “no” side. However, the subject was not discussed at the meeting, as Erdoğan called the ministers himself over the phone to express his opinion.
About the death penalty, Erdoğan reiterated his comments during the campaign period.
“I know what the people say about it. I think just like the people,” he said, however, the council have not reached a conclusion about the matter nor discussed it.
Also, in the meeting, the acceleration of the process for the party congress was also on the agenda, but the council has concluded that an extraordinary congress is not necessary.