Turkish PM gears up efforts to renew his A-team
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan (R) greets Süleyman Soylu (L), who recently joined AKP.With weeks remaining before the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) annual convention, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has geared up his efforts to renew his party’s executive cadre with new faces to carry the party to its 2023 goals.
Erdoğan convened his enlarged parliamentary group and the party’s women’s and youth branches yesterday at the party headquarters to discuss the future of party management and to hear the intentions of party organizations, as part of his preparations for the AKP’s general convention which will take place on Sept. 30 in Ankara. As a first step in bringing fresh blood to the AKP, Süleyman Soylu, former leader of the Democrat Party, joined the party yesterday, and Numan Kurtulmuş, who is expected to dissolve his People’s Voice Party on Sept. 19, will likely join the ruling party on Sept. 22 in Istanbul.
“We will lay the foundation of the AK Party of 2023 at our general convention on Sept. 30,” Erdoğan said in his address to the party’s enlarged parliamentary group. Erdoğan has already begun consulting with fellow party members about potential new leadership, and carried out minor polls in his parliamentary group to take the pulse of lawmakers regarding future AKP management. Many current party officials will not be able to run for Parliament in the 2015 elections due to a party rule restricting members to three consecutive terms in office.
“When we first introduced this rule, many thought we would violate or amend it. We always keep the promises we make to our people. This rule is also valid for our local officials and mayors. Political parties exist as long as their principles do, and everyone should get used to it,” Erdoğan said. “We are mortal. Tayyip, Bülent, Osman… But principles are immortal. If we can keep them alive, if we can embrace them, these people will never abandon this movement [the AKP].” Erdoğan will run for the position of AKP chairman for the last time at the Sept. 30 convention, as his new target is the presidency, for which he will be the strongest contender in the 2014 popular election. His potential election as president would bring the AKP a new leader and a new prime minister, who would lead the party to the general elections slated for 2015 under normal conditions. Erdoğan’s purpose is to build a new team who will not derail the party in the post-2014 period and will be reelected as the government for a consecutive term.