Erdoğan’s pressure over AKP takes new toll: Niğde mayor quits

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s oppression over his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) has taken a new toll with the resignation of Niğde Mayor Faruk Akdoğan. It is now expected that Akdoğan’s resignation will be followed by Ankara’s controversial Mayor Melih Gökçek and a few others upon the call of Erdoğan.

The reshuffle in local governments had begun with the resignation of the mayors of İstanbul and Düzce provinces after Erdoğan target them. Erdoğan accused of the many mayors as suffering the ‘metal fatigue.’ The resignation of Akdoğan was announced on Wednesday while AKP’s Konya provincial head Musa Arat and his team also quit in line with Erdoğan’s calls.

Erdoğan said the AKP’s effort to reshuffle mayoralties will continue. “Now, our demand of resignation from [the mayor of] Balıkesir has been conveyed. On the same token, our demand has been conveyed to Gökçek, as well as from [the mayor of] Bursa,” Erdoğan said as speaking to reporters on his return from Poland on late Tuesday.

He also stated that “Probably tomorrow, the Prime Minister or related deputy leaders of the AKP or I, will have a meeting in person with [the mayor of] Bursa… They have come [to those posts] as candidates of the party. We cannot regard these posts as chairs to sit in forever.”

Erdoğan also defended the state of emergency decree enabling the local authorities and Interior Ministry to appoint mayors, vice-mayors and local council members in the event the post has become vacant due to suspension or dismissal on terror-related charges. “If trustees were not appointed there, they would have sent their money to Qandil,” said Erdoğan, referring to the Northern Iraqi mountain hosting the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), as currently 101 mayoralties are ruled by trustees.

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