Turkish parliament speaker to leave for Istanbul mayoral nomination
Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım has said he will leave his post on Feb. 18.
While answering the questions of anchor Buket Aydın on private broadcaster CNN Türk on Jan, 29, Yıldırım said he will leave the position of parliament speaker when he formally applies to run for mayoral elections scheduled for March 31.
Yıldırım was nominated as candidate of ruling Justice and Development Party for mayor of Istanbul.
"For me, the issue of being parliament speaker will be over as of Feb. 18," Yıldırım said.
When asked about his reasons to run for mayor while he was still parliament’s speaker, Yıldırım said a need arose regarding his candidacy and he accepted the duty.
“When you are needed in some place, you do not have the right to say no. Rendering service to Istanbul is an honor for me,” he added.
“[Istanbul] is the city where Mustafa Kemal had once said ‘As they have come, so they will go,” Yıldırım asserted, referring to modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s remarks when he saw British warships arriving on the shores of Istanbul which was under occupation in 1918.
“It bothers me that the issue of my resignation takes up citizens’ agenda. We need to talk about Istanbul. My resignation is being discussed senselessly,” he said.
“Besides, I am not officially a candidate. My party had only announced an intent. Thus, I am revealing now that I will resign when my candidacy is officially declared,” he added.
The mayoral candidate, who was also a prime minister, also stressed that this is a first and the regulations do not state whether the parliament speaker can run for mayor or not.
Yıldırım’s candidacy while still a parliament speaker received an avalanche of criticisms from opposition parties, which called it a violation of the Turkish constitution.
Article 94 of the Turkish constitution stipulates that the parliament speaker cannot partake in the activities of the political party that he is a member of.
The Ankara Bar Association had called for Yıldırım’s resignation, saying his nomination breaches the constitution as it obligates the speaker of the Turkish Parliament to remain impartial, in a written statement on Jan. 2.