Niğde mayor latest to quit upon AKP’s call
As the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) efforts to regenerate the party organization before the triple elections in 2019 continue, Niğde Mayor Faruk Akdoğan has resigned from his position with the expectation he will be followed by Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek and a few others upon the call of President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The reshuffle in local governments had begun with the resignation of the Istanbul and Düzce mayors as Erdoğan openly underlined the need of renewing municipal leaders who have long been occupying their seats and have thus been suffering from what he calls “the metal fatigue.”
The resignation of Akdoğan was announced on Oct. 18 while Konya AKP provincial organization chief Musa Arat and his team also quit in line with Erdoğan’s calls. The AKP is planning to end re-structuring of the party management at all levels by February 2018 so it can be well prepared for local elections in March 2019 and parliamentary, presidential polls in November 2019.
Speaking to reporters on his return from Poland on late Oct. 17, Erdoğan said the AKP’s effort to reshuffle mayoralties will continue.
“Now, our demand of resignation from [the mayor of] Balıkesir has been conveyed. On the same token, our demand has been conveyed to Gökçek, as well as from [the mayor of] Bursa,” Erdoğan said, referring to Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, whose resignation has been rumored after Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş stepped down.
“Probably tomorrow [Oct. 18], the Prime Minister or related deputy leaders of the AKP or I, will have a meeting in person with [the mayor of] Bursa,” Erdoğan added.
“They have come [to those posts] as candidates of the party. We cannot regard these posts as chairs to sit in forever,” said Erdoğan, speaking of the criticisms directed towards the AKP in its move to instruct elected mayors to resign.
“In this respect, when such a step is necessitated, our friends should say ‘I am a member of this case, if my authorities have made such decision, I will convey my resignation to the related authority,’” he said, reiterating his earlier remarks that “resignation does not mean dismissal, the party will utilize the friends who have conveyed their resignations in different posts.”
“I cannot and do not want to think our friends would chose [not to resign], because the consequences of such a move would be heavy,” he added.
Appointment of trustees
Erdoğan also defended the state of emergency decree enabling the local authorities and Interior Ministry to appoint mayors, vice-mayors and local council members in the event the post has become vacant due to suspension or dismissal on terror-related charges.
“If trustees were not appointed there, they would have sent their money to Kandil,” said Erdoğan, referring to the Northern Iraqi mountain hosting the headquarters of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), as currently 101 mayoralties are ruled by trustees.
“If they had served their mayoralties, trustees would not have been appointed,” he said.
“It was even too late to take measures there,” he added.