Numan Kurtulmuş to join ruling party

Numan Kurtulmuş to join ruling party

Numan Kurtulmuş to join ruling party

Numan Kurtulmuş speaks at the People’s Voice Party’s latest congress. Daily News Photo

Numan Kurtulmuş, whose People’s Voice Party (HSP) dissolved itself on Wednesday with a majority of its delegates’ votes, will join the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday at a meeting of the party’s provincial chairpersons in Istanbul.

In July, following long-held speculation that Kurtulmuş was on Erdoğan’s mind for his possible successor as party head, Erdoğan personally proposed to Kurtulmuş the idea of merging the parties under the umbrella of the AKP.

Erdoğan and Kurtulmuş once belonged to the Virtue Party (FP), the flag-bearer of the conservative “National View” movement, before it was closed down by the Constitutional Court in 2001. Kurtulmuş chose to stay with the FP’s successor, the Felicity Party (SP), while Erdoğan formed the AKP in 2001.

Kurtulmuş has repeatedly said that he is not seeking any particular post or position within the ruling party or the government; however, he is expected to take a critical role within the AKP, as Erdoğan will be elected the party’s chairman for the last time at its convention on Sept. 30, as party statute dictates.

Kurtulmuş’s close associates, including Şeref Malkoç and Teoman Rıza Güneri, are also expected to join the ruling party on Saturday.

AKP deputy chair and spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik, meanwhile, said that the ruling party does not need popular names to increase its public support and there will be no further additions to the AKP at the congress.

“No popular names will join the party [on Sept. 30]. [Former Democrat Party leader] Süleyman Soylu has joined the party. There will be a program for Kurtulmuş, but no other party or person will join our party at the moment,” Çelik told the Anatolia news agency on Friday.