Turkey’s ruling AK Party’s extraordinary congress begins

President Erdoğan will be reunited with his party and be chairman of the AK Party once again with the congress held today

 The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) third Extraordinary Congress is being held in Ankara today with the slogan, “New Breakthrough Period: Democracy, Transformation, Reform.” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the founder of AK Party, is due to be chosen as the chairman of the party again after 998 days of separation. The congress will see an important step be taken toward the presidential government system.

Erdoğan is expected to announce an action plan along with the fundamental road map. Erdoğan, who will address all segments of society, will make statements on the economy. In addition, the congress will paint a picture of unity and solidarity. President Erdoğan is expected to highlight the reforms during his speech at the congress.

Erdoğan led the AK Party for 13 years starting from its foundation in 2001 but had to step aside when he became president in August 2014, due to the legal requirement for presidents to be politically neutral.

When the party won the November 2002 election with two-thirds of the seats in parliament, it became the first party to win an outright majority in over a decade.

During his time as prime minister, Erdoğan oversaw general elections in 2007 and 2011 in which the party returned to power with a greater share of the vote each time.

The party also performed well in local elections in 2004, 2009, and 2014, when it secured 18 out of 30 mayoral seats in larger cities.

When Erdoğan stood for the presidency in 2014 he received 52 percent of the vote, and Davutoglu officially took charge of the party.

The June 2015 general election saw the party returned as the largest in parliament, but it failed to retain its overall majority, taking 258 of 550 seats. After talks to form a coalition floundered, a snap poll in November saw the AK Party returned with a majority of 317 seats.