Yıldırım is ready to stand down

It is claimed that Yıldırım tendered his resignation after the referendum, while Erdoğan is prepared to risk the chaos and take over at the head of the AKP.

25 Nisan 2017 Salı, 11:45
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Emine Kaplan
The AKP’s inability to garner the number of ‘yes’ votes it had expected in the referendum has played havoc with its congress plans. The inclination to await the ordinary congress for President Tayyip Erdoğan to take over as general chair after becoming a party member is shifting in the direction of convening an ‘extraordinary congress’ before the month of Ramadan begins. Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım reportedly tendered his resignation orally to President Erdoğan after the referendum, saying, ‘The impediment before you has vanished with the constitutional amendment and you can become general chair any time you want.’ If an extraordinary congress is convened, Erdoğan could become party general chair as well in May. As to a cabinet reshuffle, it is said that this will wait until after the congress depending on whether there are elections at the congress and also taking stock of changes in the Central Decision and Executive Committee. Some managers in the AKP want certain names from the MHP to enter the cabinet to guarantee the 2019 election.
The assessment being made in the party in the case that Erdoğan’s take-over as general chair is delayed after he becomes a party member is: ‘If our president is a party member but its leader is Mr Yıldırım, the latter will be the party’s general chair and prime-minister. This will give rise to a dual structure. The ordinary congress process lies ahead of us. The referendum results must also be analysed well and the machine needs restructuring. There will be local elections in two years and presidential and parliamentary elections seven months after that. There is merit in the president becoming party general chair during the ordinary congress.’
Congress possible in May
It is said that, should Erdoğan opt for an extraordinary congress, he will become a party member immediately after the Supreme Election Council makes the official announcement and Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım will convene an extraordinary congress. According to the AKP Rule Book, a decision to convene an extraordinary congress can be taken, ‘at the written request of the general chair or the Central Decision and Executive Committee or at least one-fifth of delegates to the main congress.’ In fact, a date is even being spoken of in party circles for the extraordinary congress. It is said that, should such a decision be taken, the extraordinary congress will be held before 27 May on which the month of Ramadan starts. The dates of 13 and 14 or 20 and 21 May are being contemplated. It is stated that, once Erdoğan becomes general chair, Binali Yıldırım may continue to serve as group chair and prime-minister.
As to a cabinet reshuffle, it is said that this will wait until after the congress depending on whether there are elections at the congress and taking stock of changes in the Central Decision and Executive Committee and Central Executive Committee.
2019 calculations
There are managers in the party who, taking stock of the referendum results, are talking of the need for certain names from the MHP to be brought into the cabinet to guarantee victory in the elections slated for 2019. However, it is pointed out that MHP General Chair Devlet Bahçeli will have the say over this. It is estimated that Bahçeli may look favourably on the inclusion on the cabinet of certain names from the MHP even if not himself to strengthen his hand at his party’s congress.

Is there a crisis between the two?

Erdoğan and Yıldırım had planned to hold five joint rallies at the start of the referendum campaign. They were going to put the case for ‘yes’ to the people together in Ankara, Istanbul, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır and Kayseri. Van was added to Diyarbakır at the last moment. However, with Erdoğan becoming hoarse, Yıldırım addressed the people of Van, and Erdoğan the people of Diyarbakır, alone. Prime-Minister Yıldırım also appeared in Kayseri without Erdoğan. The assessment having been made that the vote was below expectation in Konya, a joint rally was also staged in this city. Yıldırım cancelled his Konya programme in the wake of the controversy about a federated state system. Erdoğan was left on his own in Konya. Yıldırım gave the message in the reply he made from Ankara to the controversy about a federated state system, ‘If there is a federated state system anywhere in the constitution, I will immediately step down as both party general chair and prime-minister.’