Beware of opposition traps, Turkish PM tells AKP
PM Erdoğan (R) introduces Family and Social Policies Minister Şahin (2R) as the AKP’s candidate for mayor in the southern city of Gaziantep. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned his party members to "beware of traps set by the opposition" during the upcoming local election campaign, telling them not to engage in such tactics to win votes.
“During the upcoming four months, opposition parties will not present their plans, projects and vision [for local elections]. Instead, they will do whatever they can to sow discord [among us], they will use every opportunity and seek all kinds of alliances for it. They will even collaborate with enemies of Turkey and attack us,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 29 in Ankara, during his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial chairs meeting.
Having already announced 10 of the party’s 81 provincial candidates, Erdoğan addressed his party members before announcing 21 more candidates for city mayoralties - six of them candidates for metropolitan municipalities.
Among the announced candidates, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin will run for the southern city of Gaziantep Metropolitan Mayoralty in the March 2014 elections.
It’s not yet clear whether Şahin will immediately resign or not, as the Supreme Election Board (YSK) decided on Nov. 28 that ministers did not have to resign if they wanted to run in the upcoming local elections.
If Şahin does not leave her post, she will run her local election campaign while maintaining her position as a minister.
Claiming that the opposition parties would deem any means of obtaining more votes as legitimate during the local elections campaign, PM Erdoğan said the AKP members should not act in the same way.
“Even if we know that we may lose, we will not go beyond the limits of shame and decency. For the upcoming four months, we will act with such consciousness. We will mind our business. We will produce our own projects. We will display our vision and target for our country,” he said.
In a veiled reference to the recent discord between himself and the Gülen Movement, Erdoğan also warned his fellow party members of "internal rifts" within the party, calling on them to postpone all disagreements until after the elections.
“We cannot tolerate any disagreement within our party organization. It’s not time for disagreements. If someone has problems, let them postpone it until the evening of March 30, 2014,” he said.