PM signals new ‘message’ at congress

PM signals new ‘message’ at congress

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled that he will deliver a message of unity embracing people from all segments of society when he reads out the highly anticipated “manifesto” of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the party’s congress on Sunday.

His speech at the congress will not fall below the benchmark set by his earlier “balcony speeches,” and will actually go beyond earlier speeches, Erdoğan said, speaking in a televised interview aired jointly by Kanal 7 and Ülke TV news channels late on Wednesday.

Erdoğan’s speech after the June 12, 2011 parliamentary election was delivered from the balcony of AKP headquarters and has since been known as the “balcony speech.” In that speech, delivered after the AKP secured its third consecutive term in power with 49.9 percent of the vote, he vowed to seek consensus from all segments of society on the new constitution.

In Wednesday’s interview Erdoğan also disclosed the name of Osman Can, a former rapporteur of the Constitutional Court who objected to the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) when it was threatened, as one of the new faces who will join the party at the congress, while also listing names of foreign dignitaries who will attend the congress.

The dignitaries Erdoğan listed include Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi; Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev; Iraqi Parliament Speaker Usame al-Nujaifi; Khaled Mashaal, the head of the Hamas movement in exile; former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. Forty foreign political party leaders will also attend the congress, he said.

While Erdoğan expressed his wish to see Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the congress, al-Maliki said in an interview late on Wednesday that he had sent a letter thanking Erdoğan for his invitation, but declining to attend due to other travel plans.

Erdoğan also ruled out any rift between himself and President Abdullah Gül over the upcoming presidential elections.