Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has blasted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call for a number of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) local mayors to resign, stressing that the mayors came to office in elections.
“If there is any corruption or illegality, the Interior Ministry should do its job. In other cases, forcing people to resign is neither democratic, nor moral, nor right,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on Oct. 19 after his meeting with local muhtars (neighborhood heads) in Ankara.
“We are talking about national will, the will of the people. Those who came to office in an election should leave office in an election. I don’t find any other paths to be right,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments came amid an ongoing saga in the AKP, with Erdoğan calling on Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe and Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur to resign.
“Right now three mayors have submitted their resignation, and there are three more mayors. They will submit their resignation shortly. Otherwise, the necessary measures will be taken,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 19.
“Our boards have made their decisions on the subject. We have assessed the decision process with them,” he added.
The call comes after the resignation of Kadir Topbaş as Istanbul mayor in September, following conflict within AKP members of the Istanbul Municipal Council.
While CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu blasted the AKP’s moves to “reshuffle local mayoralties with a central decision,” he added that the principle of coming to office in an election “should apply to all parties, not just to the AKP.”
MHP leader criticizes Gökçek
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has criticized the Ankara mayor, amid the discussions on resignation.
“Mr. Melih [Gökçek] has served [as a mayor] for five terms, we see how far he could be useful. I cannot be an intermediator for anybody. We will say that it is not our business,” Bahçeli told reporters on Oct. 19 when asked about Erdoğan’s comments.
Bursa Mayor goes abroad
Amid Erdoğan’s comments, Bursa Mayor travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Oct. 18 to attend an event marking the 25th year of the country’s independence and the 14th year of the passing of Alija İzetbegovic, Bosnia’s first president.
Sources close to Altepe left questions concerning resignation unanswered, saying, “We have no knowledge on the issue,” daily Hürriyet’s Aysel Alp reported.
Balıkesir mayor makes statement
Meanwhile, Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur made a statement in an opening ceremony in Balıkesir on Oct. 19, saying, “We pray that God gives what is best for Balıkesir.”
“There have been rumors and comments involving my name recently. I want to say this about them: There is a lifetime dedicated to this matter and post. The world is mortal; it is a place of examination. We are under examination and we say that there is benevolence in everything,” Uğur said.
“We will never allow any disruption to our service. We are here or not. We are planting trees during our apocalypse. We do not quit planting trees just to cling to our seats,” he added.
“There is loyalty and there is farewell in the nature of this job, I pray to God to bring what is best for me,” he said.