Balıkesir mayor latest to resign amid series of resignations from the AKP
Ahmet Edip Uğur, the mayor of the northwestern Turkish province of Balıkesir, left his post on Oct. 30, the latest in a long-running saga over a number of resignations from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of local elections in 2019.
Announcing his resignation, Uğur said has resignation has nothing to do with “failure” or any “connection” to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who the government accuses of being behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
In an emotional speech in which he appeared to be struggling against tears, Uğur said he was obliged to make this decision after he and his family were “threatened.”
“It is unbearable,” he said, adding that it is now impossible for him to continue with the AKP, so he announced his resignation from the party too.
Uğur also said there was a “disconnect” between municipalities and the AKP, which applies not only for Balıkesir but also for all others.
His decision to resign comes amid reports that the AKP administration has demanded the resignation of many AKP mayors as a part of preparations for local, parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has framed the resignations as part of party “renewal,” saying the AKP “cannot afford to waste time.”
“Some of our friends should not feel discomfort about this. On the contrary, if our management has made such a decision then they will show the courtesy that our Istanbul Mayor [Kadir Topbaş] showed, and in that way strengthen our movement,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 13, referring the resignation of Topbaş on Sept. 22.
Uğur’s announcement came after the resignation of Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, in addition to the mayors of Istanbul, Niğde, Düzce and Bursa.