Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek to resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek to resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek to resign on Oct. 28

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek will leave his post on Oct. 28, the end of a long-running saga amid a number of resignations from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of local elections in 2019.

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

His resignation comes after the resignation of Kadir Topbaş as Istanbul mayor and resignations of the AKP’s mayors of Niğde, Düzce and Bursa, amid warning from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the party to avoid what he calls “metal fatigue.”

Erdoğan on Oct. 13 said the AKP was working to “restructure for the 2019 elections” and “cannot afford to waste time.”

“Some of our friends should not feel discomfort about this. On the contrary, if our management has made such a decision then they will show the courtesy that our Istanbul mayor showed, and in that way strengthen our movement,” Erdoğan said, referring the resignation of Topbaş on Sept. 22.

Gökçek, who announced his decision following a meeting with President Erdoğan on Oct. 23 at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, was first 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.