“I will become a candidate [for AK Party leadership] for the fourth and last time at the AK Party congress on Sept. 30 in Ankara. This is what I promised in the past,” Erdoğan said on Sunday when addressing participants at a provincial congress of the AK Party in Eskişehir.
AK Party bylaws do not allow the leader of the party to be elected for more than four consecutive terms. Erdoğan is expected to run for president of the country after he retires from AK Party leadership.
According to Erdoğan, the AK Party will continue to renew itself with the aim of disappointing people who hope the ruling party will be marred by an intraparty fight for leadership. “No fight for leadership or higher positions will emerge within this party [AK Party]. There are some people who hope for such a fight. They shouldn't waste their time. Their dreams will never come true. Friendship, solidarity and brotherhood will be victorious [in the AK Party],” the prime minister stated.
Erdoğan in addition said he has always been proud of serving the AK Party. “I have always been proud of being a member and serving this party. I will continue to serve [the AK Party] no matter what job my party gives me. We [AK Party members] should work to show our people that politicians are trustworthy and that politics is conducted to serve the people. This is what we have done so far, and it's what we will continue to do,” he noted.
The prime minister also commented on an earlier offer he made to the leader of the Voice of the People Party (HAS Party) for the merger of that party with his AK Party. He said the doors of his party are open to all other political parties. “The AK Party is the party of the people. Everyone has a place under the roof of the AK Party. Every citizen is a natural member of our party. Everyone has a duty [to serve the people] in the AK Party.”
The HAS Party has not responded to the offer for a merger, but there are rumors that it will agree to merge with the AK Party in the next few weeks.
According to the prime minister, the AK Party will move forward with its efforts to make Turkey a better place to live for younger generations. “We have a huge responsibility to our youth. Coups will no longer be a risk for Turkey nor will democracy be suspended. Rights and freedoms will not be reversed, and the economy will not shrink. Messages of peace and solidarity will become stronger, and they will reach other continents. All 81 provinces of Turkey will prosper. The north, south, east and west of this country will exist in fraternity,” he stated.