AK Party's extraordinary congress held for a new leader, a new Turkey
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULAug 27, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Aug 27, 2014 12:00 am
President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday greeted the crowds awaiting him in front of AK Party's extraordinary congress in Ankara with a a short and warm speech, emphasizing the fact that his farewell to the party as its chairman is not an end but is a new beginning.
The congress, attended by around 40,000 people including representatives from non-governmental organizations, labor unions and more along with 900 journalists –including 100 foreign reporters- is unique in many aspects as it combined elements of slogans which brought AK Party to power and new ones focusing on building a new Turkey and it resembled a celebration rather than a political congress alone. Thousands of people cheered and waved flags amidst AK Party's popular songs including old and new ones.
Erdoğan, who has led the party for 13 years will make his farewell speech, while Ahmet Davutoğlu who is the only candidate for party's leadership will be welcomed.
Davutoğlu is expected to speak as the party's new leader and in his speech he is expected to touch upon various issues including Turkey's foreign policy, reconciliation process, the new constitution, fighting agents of the Gülen Movement within state institutions and will elaborate on his proposals for a new era in Turkish politics, while asking for people to vote for him.
On the other hand, a total of four documentaries explaining AK Party's performance over the last 12 years and Erdoğan's political life will be shown, while an exclusive reception is expected to take place at 3 pm. for foreign guests who will attend the congress.
Erdogan is to officially step down as prime minister on Thursday in favor Ahmet Davutoğlu and will then be sworn in as Turkey's 12th president.
Emphasizing the continuity of change at the top of government, he said: "What is happening today is not a mission change but merely a name change. This absolutely is not a parting. You should know this is an opening, a beginning, an inauguration and a milestone. I want you to understand it like that.
"Following the presidential swearing in ceremony he, Ahmet Davutoğlu, will be given the task of forming a cabinet. And the new cabinet will be in place on Friday."
The final stages of Erdoğan's term as head of Turkey's ruling AK Party ends when Foreign Minister Davutoğlu replaces him as party chairman.
Davutoğlu, a multilingual former academic and foreign policy expert, will become prime minister after Erdoğan is sworn in.
The extraordinary congress in Ankara Arena follows Erdoğan's presidential election victory on August 10. Under Turkish law, the president cannot be connected to a political party.
The victory consolidated his hold on power after an 11-year tenure as prime minister. He is widely expected to bolster the powers of the five-year presidency, turning it from a largely ceremonial role to a more hands-on position.