Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek says he will resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek says he will resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek says he will resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has announced he will resign from his post on Oct. 28 as the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) efforts to regenerate the party organization before the triple elections in 2019 continue.

“God willing, I will convene an extraordinary Ankara municipal council meeting on Saturday and bid farewell to council members and present my resignation,” Gökçek said on his Twitter account late on Oct. 23.

As Gökçek’s resignation had been a subject of nationwide anticipation since mid-October, speaking about who could replace him as Ankara mayor, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “consultations would be held” within the ruling party.

“Steps and decisions will be taken in line with developments. There is no such thing currently but that does not mean there won’t be in due course. Our main focus is on success. We will do whatever is necessary for success,” the president told reporters in Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Gökçek’s announcement follows the resignations of the AKP’s mayors of Istanbul, Niğde and Düzce, with Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe being the latest to quit his post on Oct. 23.

“We will never go against our party or our leader, nor give any damage to our party. We will do what befits us and we will not try to create a crisis environment. Under these circumstances I do not have any opportunity to provide service to my country, so I am resigning from my post as mayor,” Altepe told reporters in Bursa.

Just three days before his resignation, Altepe had vowed to continue to do his job, despite President Erdoğan’s call and persistent speculation.

President Erdoğan has also called on Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur to resign, citing a “regeneration process” ahead of the 2019 elections. Uğur will reportedly file his resignation on Oct. 30.

Gökçek, who announced his decision following a meeting with President Erdoğan on Oct. 23 at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, was elected as the mayor of Turkish capital in 1994 and joined the AKP in the early 2000s. He was re-elected in Ankara in four consecutive elections in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014, becoming the first Ankara mayor to keep his post for five terms.

More than 800 of Turkey’s 1,397 district and provincial municipalities are run by mayors who are members of the ruling AKP.