The Justice and Development (AK) party in Turkey announced on Tuesday, that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for the presidency in the forthcoming election in August. Erdogan, who has been Turkey`s prime minister since 2003, is barred from seeking a new term.
Mehmet Ali Sahin, deputy head of the AK party, said in a meeting to party members, “The candidate for the twelfth president is our prime minister, head of our party and Istanbul lawmaker, Recep Tayyip.”
The announcement was praised by most of the party members. Some parties had suggested the name of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, diplomat and former secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which could create discord within the Islamic political movement.
Erdogan’s opponents fear that his candidacy will probably pave the way for “authoritarian rule”, while his supporters consider his efforts are still capable of reshaping Turkey, which is seeking European Union membership.
In May 2013, a wave of demonstrations rose up against the government’s plans to convert Gezi Park in Istanbul into a replica military barracks. The prime minister called the demonstrators “rabble and mobs”, and ordered the police to retake the park.
Last December, prosecutors and police officers organised a crackdown on more than 50 businessmen, including the sons of three ministers – all allies of the prime minister – on charges of corruption.