Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan
ANKARA - Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to hold a special congress on May 21 to readmit President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the referendum on boosting his powers, media reports said Thursday.
Currently, the president must be impartial and without party favour, but the sweeping constitutional changes approved in the April 16 vote will allow Erdogan to again become leader of the party he co-founded in 2001.
AKP party officials have confirmed that Erdogan would be a candidate for party leader at the congress, the Hurriyet daily and the NTV television channel reported.
The constitutional changes narrowly approved in the referendum will see the role of prime minister axed while the president will be given the power to appoint ministers.
The AKP-led government, in power since 2002, says the new system will ensure political stability for a country that has experienced multiple unstable coalitions.
But opponents claim it will lead to one-man rule, and European leaders have also voiced concerns about boosting Erdogan's powers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that EU-Turkey ties have been "severely hit" by recent developments, such as the arrest of a German journalist and doubts about whether the referendum was held under fair conditions.