Who are the 14 Erdoğan-linked figures on AKP’s candidate list?
ANKARAAs ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Mustafa Şentop announced on April 7, the AKP did not include close relatives of existing party members on its list, but 14 figures closely linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including his son-in-law, found their places there.
AKP Spokesperson Beşir Atalay said in a press conference on April 7 that Erdoğan did not see and approve the list made by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in advance, but still had an influence.
“But the president is our founding leader. We all know his place in this movement. There is no need to mention it,” Atalay said, referring to Erdoğan’s non-partisan position according to the Turkish Constitution.
Here are the leading Erdoğan-linked figures on the AKP’s candidate list for the June 7 elections:
1) Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law, is the 6th-placed candidate of the AKP in the first district of Istanbul.
2) Fatma Varank, a cousin of Erdoğan’s adviser, Mustafa Varank, had approved the construction plan of Turkey’s controversial presidential complex when she was a member of the official board of natural protection in Ankara. She is in the 21st place from the first district of Istanbul.
3) Mücahit Arslan, a close confidant of Erdoğan’s for decades, had previously refused to enter politics. Arslan, who accompanied Erdoğan when he was jailed in the past, will run for parliament from Ankara.
4) Aydın Ünal, Erdoğan’s former speechwriter, is now an MP candidate from Ankara.
5) Ali Özkaya, Erdoğan’s lawyer, is in the second place of the AKP list in the Aegean province of Afyon. His brother, Muharrem Özkaya, recently became a member of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).
6) Haşim Haşimi, the father of Erdoğan’s aide, Cemalettin Haşimi, returns to politics as an AKP candidate from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
7) Lütfiye Selva Çam, the wife of Erdoğan’s former chief of staff, Serdar Çam, is at the third place of the AKP list in the second district of Ankara. Serdar Çam (picture) is currently the president of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency Directorate (TİKA).
8) Naci Ağbal, known in Ankara as one of Erdoğan’s leading economy advisers, resigned as an undersecretary at the Finance Ministry to be nominated by the AKP from the Black Sea province of Bayburt.
9) Uğur Işılak, who sings propaganda songs for the AKP and Erdoğan, is included on the AKP’s candidate list from Istanbul’s third district.
10) Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, the most well-known figure on the list, is the AKP’s top candidate in Ankara, following his advising roles for Erdoğan when he was prime minister.
11) Emrullah İşler, who was also an adviser - and sometimes interpreter - of Erdoğan during the latter’s time as prime minister, surprised many people by not being included in the first Davutoğlu cabinet. However, Davutoğlu has put İşler on the AKP list as the top candidate for Ankara’s second district.
12) Çağatay Kılıç, Erdoğan’s former deputy chief of staff and sports minister, has been picked as the top candidate of the AKP in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
13) Interior Minister Efkan Ala, a former undersecretary of Erdoğan when he was prime minister, now tops the AKP’s candidate list in the eastern province of Erzurum.
14) National Education Minister Nabi Avcı, chief advisor of media and communications during Erdoğan’s first term as prime minister, tops the AKP’s candidate list in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.