No early convention, no snap election, says ruling AKP executive
AA photoNeither an early election nor an extraordinary party congress is on the agenda of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a veteran executive of the party has said, amid rising speculation over the party’s highest decision-making body’s move to remove the authority to appoint provincial party officials from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The 50-seat Central Decision and Executive Board’s (MKYK) decision, which was made with the support of 47 members on April 29, has been widely considered as one of the clearest signs yet of tensions between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the founding leader of the party who wants an executive presidency, and Davutoğlu, who would be sidelined if the country’s parliamentary system were to be replaced.
“We just held our congress recently. We have Turkey’s problems and things we have to fulfill on our agenda. Neither congress nor early elections are on our agenda. The elections will be held in 2019,” AKP Deputy Chair Mehmet Ali Şahin said in an interview with NTV on May 2.
At the same time as Şahin’s interview was being aired live, Erdoğan was chairing a cabinet meeting at the Beştepe presidential complex, the sixth one he has called since coming to power.
Şahin’s remarks were in response to a comment by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who suggested there were signs indicating preparations by the ruling party, which secured a single-party government in the Nov. 1, 2015, early elections to govern Turkey for four years, for yet another snap election. The AKP’s party congress was held in September 2015.
“Statements about early elections are being circulated. Those who follow politics closely have been talking about this from time to time anyway. Some decisions made by the government are suggesting to us that there will be an early election,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on April 29.
Şahin downplayed talk of an internal crisis in relation with the MKYK decision and said, “Nobody should expect the AKP to shoot itself in the foot.”
“If they [Kılıçdaroğlu] want to go to early elections, then they should table their own proposal for this,” Şahin said.
The CHP has always wished and called for Davutoğlu to be their interlocutor, a deputy chair of the main opposition party said, while adding that this could not happen because Davutoğlu had been under the guardianship of Erdoğan.
It is not possible to say that Davutoğlu has been acting as the head of the executive body in line with the constitution, CHP deputy parliamentary chair Engin Altay told reporters on May 2.
“Since not having performed his duty as the head of the executive body, the opportunities he had in his hands as the head of the party have been a little bit juggled. I’m sorry. If the head of a political party is being bypassed at his own central executive board, then this is a kind of incident which ‘I wouldn’t want God to give any politician,’” Altay said in response to questions from reporters.
A comment by the deputy parliamentary leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over the MKYK incident was much harsher. HDP deputy parliamentary leader İdris Baluken dubbed last week’s tension, which descended into a brawl, a “lynch” attempt by the AKP against his party’s deputies.
“The artificial enemy to lynch most easily in Turkey has been specified by the AKP as the HDP. During the MKYK meeting, a coup which enabled him even to appoint a district head was launched against him [Davutoğlu]. A person who won’t be able to pick the district head of his party is walking around as the prime minister,” Baluken said at a press conference on May 2.