Bursa mayor Altepe resigns, Ankara mayor Gökçek says to resign under Erdoğan pressure

(Left to right) Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur, Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek and Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe.

Recep Altepe, the mayor of the northwestern province of Bursa from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), announced his resignation on Monday. According to a report by the pro-Erdoğan media, Altepe said that he will not clash with the party (AKP) and its leader (Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), and it is not possible to serve Bursa, its citizens and the country in these conditions anymore.

Altepe was named among the mayors whose resignation was sought by the AKP Chairman and Turkey’s autocratic PresidentErdoğan. He stated last week that he will remain in charge.

Meanwhile, Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has stated on Monday that he would resign from his post on October  28. “God willing, I will extraordinarily convene the Ankara municipal council on Saturday and bid farewell to council members and present my resignation,” Gökçek said on his Twitter account.

Gökçek, generally regarded as a staunch Erdoğan loyalist, is well known in Turkey for tweets in which he has engaged in spats with journalists and with other senior members of the AKP. In February he suggested the US-based Turkish-Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen might be plotting an earthquake, with the help of foreign powers.

Erdoğan had previously said that mayors suffering from what he calls “metal fatigue” should quit their jobs before the AKP expels them or judicial action is filed against them. Gökçek was elected as the mayor of Ankara in 1994 and joined the AKP in the early 2000s. He we reelected in Ankara in three consecutive elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014.

Hürriyet daily columnist Abdülkadir Selvi had claimed on Friday that Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe and Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur have decided not to resign despite the fact that Erdoğan recently demanded their resignations.

Speaking during a news program on Friday evening, Selvi claimed the three mayors are in contact and are taking decisions together on Erdoğan’s order to resign. “There is news that they have decided not to resign. This issue has become damaging for the image of the AKP in the eyes of the public as this has been an issue for a long time now.”

Upon his return from Poland this week, Erdoğan was quoted as saying: “People do not take these offices as independent candidates but as candidates put forward by parties. We cannot regard these posts as chairs that are kept forever and never given up.”

According to reports Erdoğan has requested the resignation of Altepe, Uğur, Uşak Municipality Mayor Nurullah Şahan, Niğde Municipality Mayor Faruk Akdoğan and Nevşehir Municipality Mayor Hasan Ünver in addition to that of Gökçek.

According to the Diken website, Altepe said, “We are staying on the job,” in response to questions from reporters as to whether he plans to resign or not.

Mayor Edip Uğur on Thursday held a press conference and said he would leave his position.

Kadir Topbaş, mayor of İstanbul, Mehmet Keleş, mayor of Düzce and Faruk Akdoğan, mayor of Niğde, have resigned in accordance with the call from President Erdoğan.

Underlining the importance of the will of the people, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Thursday slammed Erdoğan for his call for some AKP mayors to resign, saying: “If there is any corruption or illegality, the Interior Ministry should take action. In other cases, I find that forcing people to resign is neither democratic, nor moral, nor right.”

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