The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is expected to introduce its municipal candidates for three major provinces, Ankara, İzmir and Istanbul, in special ceremonies.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the AK Party's standing chairman, and party members are expected to attend the events. The first of these ceremonies will likely be held Saturday at Istanbul's Sinan Erdem Sports Complex, where the party will announce the name of its candidate for the Istanbul mayor's office.
The AK Party has already announced its candidates in Ankara and İzmir but will hold ceremonies to introduce the candidates to the public.
On Jan. 1, the party is expected to introduce Ankara candidate and on Jan. 5 or Jan. 6 it will introduce its İzmir candidate.
Former Environment and Urban Planning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki, who is a deputy from central Kayseri province and serves as AK Party vice chairman in charge of local administrations, has been nominated for capital Ankara.
Özhaseki, a businessman in the textile sector by profession, served as the mayor of Kayseri for nearly 17 years between June 1998 and February 2015, when he resigned ahead of the parliamentary elections in June.
In November 2015, Özhaseki was appointed the minister of environment and urban planning, a post he held until July 2018.
The AK Party mayoral candidate for western İzmir province, a traditional stronghold of the Republican People's Party (CHP), is former economy minister and current Denizli deputy Nihat Zeybekci.
Zeybekci held the ministry post from December 2013 to November 2015 and from May 2016 to July 2018. Like Özhaseki, Zeybekci was also a businessman involved in the textile sector and served as the mayor of the Aegean province of Denizli between 2004 and 2011.
Reports suggest the AK Party will nominate Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım as its Istanbul mayor candidate.
As part of the People's Alliance, formed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and AK Party ahead of the June 24 elections, the MHP will back AK Party candidates in Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir in the upcoming local elections
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