Turkish PM wins party congress, vows refreshment of AKP
PM Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) and his wife Sare Davutoğlu greet attendees at the start of the AKP congress. DHA photoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu pledged a strong return to power in the Nov. 1 early elections with a soul-searching which would get guidance from founding principles of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), also declaring that the party’s self-implemented three-term limit for MPs is lifted at the congress on Sept. 12.
The PM and the party leader won all of 1353 valid votes, sustaining his post as expected.
According to Davutoğlu, being discreet and marching with the nation was the message that the voters gave to his AKP in the June 7 parliamentary election.
“Precious AK Parti, are we ready for marching?” Davutoğlu asked in a speech he delivered at the congress before the voting, underlining that the message voters gave should be embraced while getting prepared for the Nov. 1 election.
The congress was the first ever regular congress that was held without attendance of the AKP’s founding leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Davutoğlu was elected as party leader at an extraordinary congress held in August 2014 following Erdoğan’s election as president in a popular vote.
“Today, we once more pledge our nation; we have emerged from among you and we are coming for marching towards a joint destiny,” Davutoğlu said, while he noted that the voters have been asking their party to fight against poverty, bans and corruption.
His remarks were a reference to one of the key mottos of the AKP of fighting against the “3 Ys”, – corruption (“yolsuzluk” in Turkish), poverty (“yoksulluk” in Turkish) and bans (“yasaklar” in Turkish).
“Our restoration of self-confidence will be made fixed. Prevalence of our national unity will be provided. Our state and bureaucracy will be rebuilt. We will realize moral restoration,” Davutoğlu said.
The AKP leader also vowed to continue restoration of economy as well as continuation of foreign policy initiatives and reform of judiciary.
Davutoğlu disclosed significant amendments to be made into internal regulations of the party in order to join “political power with righteousness.”
Accordingly, a “political virtue and ethics” board will be established within the party. Two new deputy chair seats will be allocated in order to be in charge of human right affairs and affairs of environment, city and culture.
The internal three-term for deputies will be lifted since there is “a short time” between the June 7 election and the upcoming Nov. 1 election.
Some 1445 delegates of the party gathered on early morning of Sept. 12 at the Arena Sports Complex for electing their leader and members of the AKP’s highest decision-making body, the Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK).
The congress opened with the display of two separate videos, one focusing on the AKP’s history and the other one telling about Erdoğan’s political career. With shouting name of “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” being the most popular slogans in the hall, the videos were followed by another, which explained last one year of the party under the leadership of Davutoğlu.
Yet, the video on Davutoğlu’s leadership was also marked by a quote from Erdoğan with a subtitle saying “rules of fraternity.”
Gül underlines ‘common sense’
A message by former President Abdullah Gül, who returned an invitation for attending the congress and also a founder of the party, was read out at the congress.
“Services of the AK Parti founded in 2001 are its reflection as the Movement of the Erdemliler [Righteous]. It has transformed Turkey into country of freedoms in 2002,” Gül said in his message, referring to the year when the AKP was first elected to power.
The party has won parliamentary elections in 2007 and 2011 with an overwhelming majority yet failed to get parliamentary majority required for forming a single-party government in the June 7 election.
The June 7 vote was the first election which the AKP joined under the leadership of Davutoğlu after Erdoğan was elected as president in August 2014.
The congress comes just 49 days before the snap election due on Nov. 1, after parties failed to form a coalition after the June 7 general election.
“[The party] has changed history of our country with a comprehensive reform movement and inspired brotherly countries. It has been successful in every election it entered. Our country has been passing through a difficult period,” Gül said. “[The party] will continue being solution for problems of our nation via acting with common sense and without abandoning rights and rules in the face of these negative conditions,” he said, while also referring to the rising conflict between the country’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
From the other three political parties that are represented at parliament, deputy chairs of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) attended the congress, while Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) preferred not sending any representatives despite having been invited.
Representatives of the Islamic-based Felicity (Saadet) Party (SP), which has been holding negotiations with the AKP for an alliance in the upcoming Nov. 1 election, were present at the congress.
Speeches delivered at the congress have been simultaneously translated Arabic, English, French, German and Russian for foreign guests and foreign media.
Among attendees of the congress were; former Brazilian Foreign and Defense Minister Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim;Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's Al-Nahda party; Iraq’s vice presidents, Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi; Macedonia’s State Minister Furkan Chako; Morocco’s former Prime Minister Abbas el Fassi; and Turkish Cyprus’ Prime Minister Ömer Kalyoncu.
A booklet in English has also been delivered for the first time. The booklet had photographs of Gül as well as Davutoğlu and Erdoğan.