Erdoğan signals return to AKP as chairman

Erdoğan signals return to AKP as chairman

Erdoğan signals return to AKP as chairman

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent a strong signal on his return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as chairman, in the wake of a referendum that narrowly approved constitutional amendments. 

“Why not?” Erdoğan replied to a question asked about a potential leadership of the AKP at a meeting with children to mark the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. 

The question was initially directed to fourth grade student Yiğit Türk, who symbolically replaced Erdoğan as the president on the day of the occasion, but Erdoğan responded “Why not? Now that these amendments give such a right,” referring to the result of the April 16 referendum. 

Türk reiterated Erdoğan’s answer during the press conference. 

In a longstanding tradition, on every April 23, Turkish leaders give their seats to children at a symbolic meeting to emphasize that the future belongs to the new generations. 

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also gave his seat to fifth grade student Yağız Keçe, who established a cabinet full of children. 

Turks on April 16 approved a set of constitutional amendments in a referendum with 51.4 percent of the votes, allowing Erdoğan to retain his links with the AKP. Erdoğan is set to apply to be registered with the party after referendum results are finalized, although it is still uncertain on whether he would be the leader. The party is required to organize a general assembly to change the party chairman.