Fakıbaba returns to AKP after controversy
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) gives the badge of his party to Fakıbaba. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZŞanlıurfa Mayor Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba returned to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday, four years after the controversy that cost the ruling party its seat in the southeastern Turkish province.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a party badge to Fakıbaba yesterday before making his weekly speech at the AKP’s group meeting.
‘Festival’ in Şanlıurfa
“I have missed you, my friends, my family,” Fakıbaba said. “I am grateful to you giving me that opportunity.
“There is a festival in Şanlıurfa now. You are the reason for that.”
Fakıbaba, who has been the city’s mayor since 2004, was one of the most controversial figures in the local elections in 2009.
Despite his evident popularity in Şanlıurfa, Fakıbaba was not elected as an AKP candidate prior to the 2009 elections. AKP parliamentarians from the province had pressured the prime minister to pick someone else, reportedly telling him, “You can make the public elect a jacket if you want to.”
Fakıbaba’s response was to resign from the party and run as an independent, and his main campaign symbol was the jacket, with supporters waving them at every rally.
After his election victory, Fakıbaba joined the Felicity Party (SP).