President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that due to Istanbul's significance, it is important to be a bit more patient while determining the mayoral candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
"When it comes to Istanbul, we will be more patient. We will make our final decision after we come to terms with the voter base," Erdoğan said following his arrival home from his Latin America trip. His remarks implied that the expectations of the voters will be put into consideration before determining their candidate for the March 2019 local elections.
"Istanbul is currently the most significant province in Turkey. Before anything else, it is my love. It is where I was born, raised, became mayor and chosen as a deputy. We put a lot of care into our work here," he said, adding that there may also be several changes in Istanbul's district mayors.
Not naming any specific candidate for Istanbul, Erdoğan mentioned Binali Yıldırım by saying that he will remain the parliamentary speaker during the budget talks in the National Assembly, which will last until Dec. 22.
Binali Yıldırım, the Parliament speaker who served as the final prime minister, comes to the fore as a possible mayor candidate for the AK Party in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
Last week, Erdoğan announced 20 of the party's city mayor candidates, including major cities like Ankara and İzmir. However, the candidate for Istanbul, where the party has enjoyed decades of rule, is expected to be announced in the upcoming days.
Regarding the alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Erdoğan said that it is inevitable that he met with MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli during this process. He emphasized that it is important to have a solid alliance because many people would like to break the bond between the two parties.
Bahçeli also talked about having a meeting with Erdoğan yesterday, saying that although there have not been any request for a meeting yet, he is ready to do so.
The People's Alliance between the MHP and the AK Party was formed ahead of the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections. The alliance received a majority in Parliament, while their presidential candidate, the incumbent president, also won the election by 52.6 percent of the votes. As both parties consider the results of the June 24 elections a success, they now are now looking to continue their alliance in the local elections.
"The current work [on the alliance] is focused on 30 main provinces, their mayors and the sub-municipalities of those provinces," the MHP Chairman Bahçeli said previously, indicating that he believes that the results of the elections will be positive for both parties.
Following the decision to continue the People's Alliance, Bahçeli announced that the party will not nominate candidates in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir with the intention of supporting the candidates of the AK Party.