Turkish PM presents Transport Minister Yıldırım as AKP’s candidate for İzmir mayor seat

Turkish PM presents Transport Minister Yıldırım as AKP’s candidate for İzmir mayor seat

Turkish PM presents Transport Minister Yıldırım as AKP’s candidate for İzmir mayor seat

AA Photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım will be running as the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate for the İzmir mayor post, with the ambition of ending the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) dominance in the province.

“İzmir has suffered because of the CHP a lot,” Erdoğan said Dec. 13, speaking at a meeting in İzmir, in which he also announced his party’s candidates for 12 more cities, most of which were Aegean provinces. “We saw the CHP’s incompetence on the roads. Now, considering all apparent realities, I believe İzmir will not say CHP again,” he said.

İzmir, Turkey’s third largest province, is one of the few metropolitan municipalities where the main opposition CHP holds the mayor’s post. Although the CHP is confident of another victory in the March 2014 elections, the top local AKP official believes the party has a significant chance of winning this time.

In the last local elections in 2009, the CHP candidate Aziz Kocaoğlu won the mayor’s seat with 55.2 percent of the votes, while the AKP received 30.7 percent.

Binali Yıldırım has become the third Cabinet member who will run for mayor in the upcoming elections, as Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin will compete for Gaziantep’s mayoral position and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin for Hatay’s.

With the announcement of 12 more mayoral candidates, the southern province of Antalya, another CHP fortress, remains as the only province the AKP has not announced a nominee for.

Former president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlüt Çavuşaoğlu and deputy party leader and former Mayor Menderes Türel are the names that have been reported as the AKP’s most likely bids for the municipality’s top job.

Erdoğan is expected to announce who will run in Antalya for his party on Dec. 14 in a ceremony scheduled to be held in the southern holiday resort city.

The prime minister has kicked-off his election campaign by visiting regions around the country that his party has been struggling to win public support.

Last weekend he embarked on a three-day visit to the region of Thrace, which has long been seen as an opposition fortress.

His Antalya and İzmir rallies are also apparently aimed at the same purpose of weakening the CHP’s perception among local residents of the aforementioned areas.

PM’s Antalya visit halts local sport activities in Antalya

ANTALYA- Doğan News Agency

Erdoğan’s visit has prompted a security lockdown in Antalya, causing all local sports face-offs to be delayed.

The Antalya Governorship has asked all sports representatives in the city to put off all matches due to the prime minister’s visit.

All personnel who were to take part in the sports matches will be serving at five sites where Erdoğan is expected to visit on Dec. 16.

All sportsmen will also be in attendance of ceremonies that the Prime Minister will be holding in the coastal town.