Party’s honor is more important than yours, Erdoğan tells mayors
The honor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is more important than any party member, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, indirectly referring to mayors whose resignation has been requested by the party including Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek.
“Resignation or dismissal from a job should not be seen as a problem. In fact, a number of our friends have quit their jobs in the past and were then given different positions,” Erdoğan told reporters.
“But if you don’t see this as a [political] cause and you behave as a bargainer, rather than as a volunteer, and if you say ‘I have my own honor,’ then don’t be offended but the honor of the party is more important than yours,” he said while returning from a one-day visit to Tehran.
Erdoğan’s statement came after reports that the AKP headquarters had demanded the resignation of a number of mayors, following the departure of Kadir Topbaş as Istanbul mayor and Mehmet Keleş as Düzce mayor. Among those mentioned are Gökçek, the long-term mayor of Ankara, as well as the mayors of Balıkesir, Bursa and Eskişehir.
In a statement before his departure to Iran on Oct. 4, Erdoğan did not rule out Gökçek’s resignation but his statements on his return were more open.
“We are not an ordinary political party. Our political party is at the same time our political cause. Those who believe in this cause must submit their resignation when necessary,” he said, while also indirectly referring to reports that Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur has resisted calls to resign.
“There are two possible alternatives [to resignation]: Expulsion from the party or dismissal from the mayor’s position on the grounds of wrongdoing. We don’t want to resort to either way,” Erdoğan said, adding the best way is to convince a particular mayor that his or her resignation will prevent any difficulty for them in the future.
“It’s good when one is promoted to a position but why is it strange when one is asked to leave the job due to what I call ‘metal fatigue’?” he said.
2019 triple elections
The president also recalled that local elections will be held in March 2019, before parliamentary and presidential elections later the same year.
“Local elections will be held in March 2019, so we have to make all our preparations. Complaints are also being filed [about municipalities] to the Interior Ministry not only about our party but also about other political parties too,” he said.