Friday, May 22, 2015Friday, May 22, 2015

Turkey's Erdogan expected to unveil presidential bid

Published on Jun 30, 2014 6:23 AM
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during a meeting of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the party headquarters in Ankara on June 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey’s ruling party is expected to name Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its candidate in August presidential polls on Tuesday, putting him on the path to become the longest serving leader since the country’s modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is due to end months of speculation by announcing its candidate at Ankara’s Chamber of Commerce, but there is little suspense left.

Taking the presidency would allow Mr Erdogan to extend an extraordinary 11-year period in power that has already seen him tame the military, return Islam to public life and oversee rapid economic growth.

At a time when he is increasingly under fire from opponents for ruling like an Ottoman autocrat, the presidency would see him stay in power until at least 2019. This would make him the country’s longest serving leader since Ataturk who was president for 15 years after establishing the modern Turkish republic.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!