PM expected to pick his new second-in-command in party
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
One of the mentioned names is Numan Kurtulmuş who, recently joined the ruling party after his People’s Voice Party (HSP) dissolved itself. AA photoFollowing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) congress on Sept. 30, backstage talks in the capital Ankara have mainly focused on potential candidates to serve as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s second-in-command in the party.
The AKP’s 50-seat Central Decision and Executive Council (MKYK) was selected on Sunday and the main executive body of the party - the 19-member Central Executive Board (MYK) - will be chosen by Erdoğan in the coming days.
The new deputy chairman in charge of political and legal affairs, which is currently occupied by Abdülkadir Aksu, will also be decided. This is considered to be the post of the “second man” in the party.
Two names in particular are being cited as potential candidates for this post. One is Mehmet Ali Şahin, a founder of the AKP and a long time comrade of Erdoğan throughout the latter’s political life. The other is Numan Kurtulmuş who, along with a group of close associates, recently joined the ruling party after his People’s Voice Party (HSP) dissolved itself.
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. Şahin also comes from the National View movement.
Although Erdoğan played down expectations of a major Cabinet reshuffle in the run up to the congress, saying the “skeleton of his team” would remain intact, the inclusion in the new MKYK of two key players who took part in the passing of judicial reforms, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, has raised expectations of a reshuffle.
The exclusion of Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin from the MKYK also contributes to such expectations. From the AKP’s inception, all interior ministers have found a place in the MKYK, and Şahin is thus expected to be replaced in a likely reshuffle. The names of Industry Minister Nihat Ergün, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı and AKP Secretary-General Haluk İpek are all cited as potential candidates to replace Şahin.
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and former Democrat Party leader Süleyman Soylu, who recently joined the party, are also being
seen as potential members of the MYK. k HDN