Turkish PM to strengthen hand at party congress before upcoming election

Turkish PM to strengthen hand at party congress before upcoming election

Deniz Zeyrek - ANKARA
Turkish PM to strengthen hand at party congress before upcoming election

AFP photo

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has voiced his willingness to strengthen his hand in the run-up to upcoming new elections by getting re-elected as the leader of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), underlining that this would be “ethically more appropriate.”

“The party exists for the country. There is a need to do everything within a natural context and in line with legitimacy in order not to allow the perception that there is an extraordinary situation in the country,” Davutoğlu said on Aug. 19.

At a meeting held on Aug. 18 and chaired by Davutoğlu, the AKP’s highest decision-making body, the Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), set Sept. 12 as the date of its upcoming party congress.

According to Davutoğlu, with this decision the AKP gave the message that there is no “extraordinary situation” requiring the postponement of its regular congress. 

“I don’t have any concerns related to the congress … If another party member wants to run [for the leadership], this would be their most natural right. I believe that going to an election as a person authorized [by his party] is appropriate. Going to an election with support from the congress is more appropriate and ethical for me,” he said.

The former foreign minister was elected as the AKP’s leader at an extraordinary congress held on Aug. 27, 2014, days after then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president on Aug. 10, 2014 by a popular vote.

The remarks from Davutoğlu came at a gathering with Ankara bureau chiefs of media outlets, only a day after he, as the head of the party that received the highest number of votes in the June 7 election that failed to produce a single-party government, returned the mandate for forming a new government to President Erdoğan late on Aug. 18.

Davutoğlu was given the mandate on July 9 and the 45-day deadline for forming a government expires on Aug. 23.

According to the official results, the AKP received 40.66 percent of the votes in the June, followed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) with 25.13 percent, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with 16.45 percent and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with 12.96 percent.

Accordingly, the AKP has 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament and the CHP has 132, while the MHP and the HDP hold 80 seats apiece. The AKP, therefore, failed to secure the majority in the 550-seat parliament required to rule alone.

However, Davutoğlu claimed that the June election results should not be dubbed a “failure” for the AKP.
“Forty-one percent of votes is not an unsuccessful result. If the CHP had received 31 percent, the MHP had 18-19 percent and the HDP had 9 percent, while we had received 41 percent of the votes, then we would have been in power on our own [as a single-party government]. Then you wouldn’t be asking this question,” Davutoğlu said, when asked about his key message in the upcoming election.

“We will see to it if there are wrongdoings and flaws on our side that the nation perceives. If there are matters on which we need to say some new things, we will be saying them,” he added. 

The AKP leader, meanwhile, refuted comments that he had played for time during his contacts with the CHP for forming a coalition government.

“During the first meeting, we did not reach an agreement on a coalition. We reached an agreement on methods, saying ‘Let’s come together as two parties and search for whether a coalition will happen or not …

We did not do this to gain time,” Davutoğlu said.

The first coalition meeting between the AKP and the CHP at leader-level took place on July 13, while the second one took place on Aug. 13.