AK Party says former Democratic party leader to join ruling party

August 14, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:13:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has said former leader of the Democratic Party (DP) is expected to join the ruling party, days after Voice of the People Party (HAS Party) leader said his party will merge with the AK Party.

Hüseyin Çelik, AK Party spokesman, told reporters following the AK Party Executive Board meeting that the party welcomed the decision by HAS Party leader Numan Kurtulmuş to join the AK Party, adding that former leader of the Democratic Party Süleyman Soylu is also expected to join the party in upcoming days.

Kurtulmuş said in Erzurum last Saturday that his party has decided to merge with the ruling AK Party.

He noted that the AK Party offered a merger with the HAS Party during a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a month ago. Kurtulmuş was asked if the HAS Party would be disbanded following the merger. Kurtulmuş responded, “The HAS Party will decide this on its own.”

Kurtulmuş founded the HAS Party in late 2010 after resigning from the Felicity Party (SP) due to a long-standing intraparty rift. Erdoğan's AK Party appeals to the same constituent base as the HAS Party and both emerged from the same predecessor of the SP, the Virtue Party (FP).

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