Deputy PM warns AKP rookies to ‘calm down’

Deputy PM warns AKP rookies to ‘calm down’

Deputy PM warns AKP rookies to ‘calm down’

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, one of the founders of the ruling party AKP, is voting during the presidential elections in this Aug 10 photo.

A row between the younger and the more experienced members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) over who will be the next chairman following Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s departure has become more visible in the run-up to the party’s extraordinary convention, where Erdoğan’s successor will be elected.

As debate heats up, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, one of the founders of the party, has openly warned what he called the party’s “adolescents” to “calm down” after public reactions against outgoing President Abdullah Gül, who signaled his return to the party on Aug. 11. “Adolescents making certain calculations based on fictitious values may harm the years-long fraternity among us. Everybody should assume a stance against these people, telling them that this is a shame,” Arınç said in an interview with private broadcaster, A Haber, Aug. 12.

He had previously made similar warnings to the party’s younger members that led to a quarrel between himself and Yalçın Akdoğan, one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top advisors, over the future of the AKP.

“If the need emerges for a new leader with charisma and power who is able to move the masses in the run up to the 2015 elections, then we are a dynamic party. We would designate our new executives and then go for an extraordinary congress,” Arınç added.

The AKP’s next extraordinary congress is set to be convened on Aug. 27, a day before the official presidential handover.

Arınç defended the timing of the congress, which has been widely interpreted as a deliberate move aimed at preventing outgoing President Abdullah Gül from immediately joining the party as leader.

However, he also argued that all assessments - including the potential successor of the president-elect, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - need to be reviewed in the run-up to the 2015 parliamentary elections, in an unveiled message to welcome Gül’s future leadership after potentially being elected as a lawmaker in the 2015 elections.

In the meantime, Erdoğan has turned to grassroots consultation and inter-party surveys in the search for his successor as party leader and prime minister. In an Aug. 11 meeting of the AKP’s highest decision-making body, the Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), Erdoğan asked party members their preferences for both party chairman and prime minister. All members submitted the name of a single nominee in a closed envelope.

As in the MKYK meeting, Erdoğan is likely to ask attendants of an expanded meeting of the AKP’s provincial chairs on Aug. 14 for their preferences, while also delivering the questionnaire to lawmakers this week.