No change in inner circle: PM

No change in inner circle: PM

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
No change in inner circle: PM

Erdoğan will run for the position of AKP chairman for the last time at the Sept. 30 convention, as his new target is the presidency, for which he will be the strongest contender in the 2014 popular election. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again played down expectations of a major Cabinet reshuffle or change within the party administration at his party’s Sept. 30 convention, saying the “skeleton of his team” will remain intact.

“Let me say it in football jargon: I will not disrupt the skeleton of the team. Some are confusing everything,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying by several newspapers on Sept. 14, adding that the three-term limit for current deputies was not applicable to the Central Decision and Executive Council (MKYK) and provincial administrative boards.

His remarks came in response to questions from a small group of journalists accompanying him during an official visit to Kiev.

 “We can call this [congress] an updated manifest of the 11 years or a new road map,” Erdoğan said, in an apparent reference to the foundation of the ruling party back in 2001, while also underlining that the Sept. 30 congress should not be considered as a kind of watershed convention.

Altering administration

When asked whether he would alter the party administration to the extent that he did for the June 2011 elections – when he changed 69 percent of the deputies – he said: “Here, the situation is different. We have a settled administration team. Most of them are fulfilling their functions. Of course, refreshing the blood would be very appropriate.”

Erdoğan also questioned the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) capability of representing the people, indicating that the party’s deputies were representing the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) instead of their putative constituents.

“You will pick one of the two choices. You will either go to Kandil or to Parliament,” Erdoğan said of BDP, suggesting that the place where BDP deputies would return to if their immunities are ultimately lifted would be to the PKK in the mountains, not to the people who elected them.

The Kandil Mountains are a range located along the Iranian border of Iraq; Kandil has become a byword in Turkish politics for the PKK, which has had its headquarters and military camps there for nearly 20 years. The group has carried out an armed campaign from the area that has resulted in the deaths of 40,000 people in the last three decades.

“We do not have a goal like going to Kandil. We want to bring those who are based in Kandil to Turkey and pave the way for their making politics on the flat plain [in the political sphere],” BDP Iğdır deputy Pervin Buldan told the Hürriyet Daily News on Sept. 14.

In response to Erdoğan’s statement that the BDP was only representing the PKK, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) urged the prime minister to compromise with the opposition, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) gave him full support.

“The prime minister is in a fight with everybody who opposes him,” Muharrem İnce, a deputy chair of the CHP’s parliamentary group, told reporters. “If the prime minister wishes to resolve the terror problem, I believe that it would be better if he acts like a statesman and chooses reconciliation with opposition parties instead of fighting.”

But the MHP’s Mehmet Şandır, a deputy chair of his party’s parliamentary group, echoed Erdoğan, saying the BDP should either choose Parliament or join the PKK.