President Erdoğan to rejoin ruling AKP this week

President Erdoğan to rejoin ruling AKP this week

President Erdoğan to rejoin ruling AKP this week President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will formally rejoin Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) this week, following the narrow approval of constitutional amendments in a referendum on April 16 that paved the way for the president to be a member of a party. 

On May 1, the AKP’s top executive bodies, the Central Executive Committee (MYK) and the Central Decision Board (MKYK), will gather to decide on whether to hold an extraordinary congress on May 21 and invite President Erdoğan to rejoin the party as a member. 

Following the passing of constitutional changes in the April 16 referendum, the president will be allowed to return to the party he co-founded.      

“We will happily invite our president back to our party. There is no barrier stopping him from becoming the chairman. The first step is to make him a member of our party again,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said last week.

“Injecting fresh blood in the cabinet is a necessity of democracy. When appropriate, we can make changes. We’ll do this in consultation with our president,” Yıldırım had earlier said.

A reshuffle in the cabinet is expected before the May 21 extraordinary congress, and Erdoğan plans to transfer some leaving ministers to the party administration. He will also appoint new deputy leaders to the party and to parliament. 

On April 30, Erdoğan claimed that it was not him but rather the prime minister and the government that would decide on a cabinet reshuffle. 

The president is expected to be the sole candidate for chairmanship at the congress, at which the AKP’s executive body members are also expected to be reshuffled. 

Prime Minister Yıldırım previously hinted that no extraordinary convention was planned before 2018, but he adjusted his stance after a meeting Erdoğan on April 26. 

Following their talks, Yıldırım met with aides in the AKP and instructed them to accelerate the process for an extraordinary convention.

The constitutional change voted on in the April 16 referendum granted Erdoğan executive powers, to be phased in after national elections in 2019. In the interim, Erdoğan’s leadership of the AKP will give him control over both the legislature and the presidency, as the ruling party holds a majority of seats at parliament.

Erdoğan chaired the AKP for 13 years from 2001 but had to step aside when he was elected president in August 2014. He resigned from the AKP after he was elected president in August 2014 and was replaced by Ahmet Davutoğlu. Yıldırım, the current AKP chairman and prime minister, took over from Davutoğlu in May 2016.