Update April 28
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will rejoin the AKP on May 2, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on April 28.
Yıldırım, who is the current AKP leader, said Erdoğan’s membership will be “reactivated” at a May 2 party meeting.
“We will happily invite our president back to our party. There is no barrier stopping him from becoming the chairman of the party of which he is the founder. But, the first step will be making him a member of our party again,” Yıldırım said.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti or AKP) is to hold an extraordinary meeting on May 21 to discuss President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s readmission to the party.
Under the previous rules, the Turkish president was not allowed to be a member of a political party, but the referendum on April 16 altered many constitutional provisions, including making the president the leader of the government.
The AKP meeting – previously scheduled for September – is expected to readmit Erdoğan to the party and reinstall him as its leader.
According to the pro-AKP Daily Sabah, the party’s Central Executive Committee (MYK) will in the next few days make the formal decision to hold the extraordinary meeting and nominate Erdoğan as a sole candidate for party chairperson.
Hurriyet Daily News reported AKP sources said a cabinet reshuffle is likely before the May meeting.
Erdoğan led the AKP from its foundation in 2001 until August 27, 2014, when Ahmet Davutoğlu assumed leadership after Erdoğan’s victory in the August 10 presidential election. Davutoğlu fell from grace and was replaced by current Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in an extraordinary congress on May 22, 2016.
Prior to 2013, AKP was allied with a movement established by Fethullah Gülen, a cleric and then-ally of Erdoğan. Erdoğan and Gülen fell out in December of that year prompted in part by a corruption scandal and the cleric’s criticism of the government’s handling of the Gezi park protests.
Erdoğan and the AKP have since accused Gülen of trying to form a “parallel state” to overthrow the government, most recently after the failed coup last July.