Turkish PM Erdoğan speeds up efforts for local elections

Turkish PM Erdoğan speeds up efforts for local elections

Turkish PM Erdoğan speeds up efforts for local elections

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin (3rd L) will run for the Hatay mayor's post, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (3rd R) announced during yesterday’s meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has unveiled 15 more of his party’s provincial candidates for the upcoming local elections, with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin becoming the second current minister who will run for a mayoralty in the March 2014 elections.

Having already announced 32 of the party’s 81 provincial candidates last week, Erdoğan made public on Dec. 3 that Ergin would run for mayor in the southern city of Hatay.

With more ministers being expected to be nominated as candidates, a Cabinet reshuffle seems also to be looming on the horizon.

Although Turkey’s top election authority, the Supreme Election Board (YSK), decided on Nov. 28 that ministers do not have to resign if they wish to run in upcoming local elections, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has made clear that ministers announced as candidates in the local elections will leave their post.

“Our prime minister believes that ministers who run as candidates in the local elections should resign. There may be a Cabinet reshuffle by the end of December. Our ministers [who will run as candidates in local elections] will leave their posts as of January 2014,” Arınç said on Dec. 2 after a Cabinet meeting.

Erdoğan, speaking on the issue during his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, slammed opposition criticisms that ministers should immediately resign when they are declared as candidates. “We know better than [the opposition] when our candidates should resign. The YSK declares the election calendar and we will take our steps,” he said.

Among other announced candidates, AKP Diyarbakır deputy Galip Ensarioğlu will run for the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor’s office, and former AKP Batman deputy Mehmet Emin Ekmen for the Batman mayoralty.

Celalettin Güvenç, who resigned from the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa governorship last week, was announced as candidate for the Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Mayor’s office. Güvenç, who is the brother of AKP Kahramanmaraş lawmaker Sıtkı Güvenç, was protested last week when he resigned from the governor’s office to be a candidate for mayoralty.

Faruk Köksoy will run for the AKP in the northeastern province of Ardahan; Mustafa Buluş in Iğdır; Cemalettin Başsoy in Erzincan; Yücel Barakazi in Bingöl; Osman Kızılban in Hakkari; Reşat Kasap in Rize; Fehmi Alaydın in Bitlis; Mehmet Emin Ekmen in Batman; Hasan Arslan in Ağrı; Mehmet Sekmen in Erzurum; Osman Nuri Gülaçar in Van; and Yusuf Ziya Yılmaz in Samsun.