Turkey’s Erdoğan shapes AKP management in first meeting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has shaped the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) new central executive body, which held its first meeting under Erdoğan’s leadership as AKP chairman on May 29 amid expectations that he will reshuffle the cabinet in the coming days.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who left the leadership of the party to Erdoğan at an extraordinary convention on May 21, has been appointed as the acting leader to represent the AKP at parliament’s general assembly and other platforms.

Erdoğan introduced only three new names to the 15-seat Central Executive Council (MYK), in a bid to protect all top executives of one of the party’s most important branches. Mahir Ünal has been appointed as the spokesman of the party while Abdülhamit Gül will continue his role as secretary-general of the AKP.

Hayati Yazıcı, Mehdi Eker, Cevdet Yılmaz and other top deputy leaders remained in their positions.

The AKP’s recently established 50-seat Central Decision Making and Executive Council (MKYK) met on May 29 for Erdoğan to determine his closest aides in the party as well as his spokesperson. It was Erdoğan’s first participation in the MKYK meeting since he was elected party leader on May 21, marking the start of a new era in Turkish politics after the president was able to officially retain links with a political party.

“Although the executive presidential system will go into effect after the 2019 election, we are considered to be in a transition period. Within this scope, the political efficiency of our president, who is also the AKP chairman, will increase in this process,” AKP deputy leader and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting on May 29.

Erdoğan will likely reshuffle his cabinet after he completes renewing his A-team in the party. He is also expected to address the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting on May 30, which will mark another first.

According to official results, 51.4 percent of the Turkish electorate voted in favor of constitutional amendments at a referendum in mid-April, paving the way for a governmental system change that will fully enter into force in late 2019.

After becoming AKP leader, Erdoğan said he had instructed cabinet ministers to prepare a six-month road map to outline their priorities and programs.

“In line with the efficiency of this new period, we’ll enter a six-month working period. We’ll become faster, more efficient and more productive,” Kurtulmuş said.