AKP to celebrate 18th anniversary
Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will celebrate its 18th anniversary in a special ceremony on Aug. 23, a senior party official has said, underlining that the list of invitees will not include the dissidents who are seeking to form a new political party.
“We will hold a ceremony to celebrate the 18th anniversary of our party. The 18 years of the AK Party will be displayed through a special timeline in which all the political actors who had a role in this process will also take place,” Mahir Ünal, deputy leader of the AKP, told the Ankara bureau chiefs of the media outlets at a meeting in the Turkish capital on Aug. 20.
The AKP was founded on Aug. 14, 2001 under the leadership of now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a number of founding members who split their ways with the Virtue Party (FP) of Necmettin Erbakan. The party has decided to celebrate it on Aug. 23, as Aug 14 coincided with the Eid al-Adha.
A ceremony for the 18th anniversary will take place under the leadership of AKP Chairman and President Erdoğan with the participation of the ministers, lawmakers, members of the decision-making bodies, youth and women branches as well as heads of the provincial organizations and mayors.
“Eighteen youngsters who were born on Aug. 14, 2001 will be specially invited to the ceremony,” Ünal said.
However, the list of invitees will not include former President Abdullah Gül, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former Economy Minister Ali Babacan who have splintered from the party and seek to form new political parties.
“Former lawmakers who lend support to the formation of a new political party will not be invited. We are holding a family meeting. We are inviting those who feel as a member of the family,” he stressed.
Ünal said that a special anthem marking the 18th year of the AKP will be played during the ceremony while a video explaining the ruling party’s achievements in the past period will be shown at the beginning of the meeting.
The AKP’s anniversary comes at a moment when the party’s two former heavyweights, Babacan and Davutoğlu, have accelerated efforts to form two separate political parties in reaction to the current policies of the ruling party.
Supported by Abdullah Gül, Babacan has recently announced his resignation from the AKP while Davutoğlu continues to openly criticize the actions of the AKP. Both Gül and Davutoğlu slammed the government’s decision to dismiss the mayors of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin on charges of having links with the PKK terror organization.