Erdoğan may change the third term rule to continue ruling the AKP

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reportedly stated that his party’s bylaw that limits deputies to three consecutive terms in office could be altered if the party administration want him to continue to lead the party, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

According to several Turkish media outlets, Erdoğan spoke to Al Jazeera English’s Jamal Elshayyal on Sunday and said his party is concentrated on the upcoming local elections on March 30 and if party administration see a need for a change in the bylaw that limits deputies to three consecutive terms in office, it will make a decision regarding the issue.

Political experts have recently stated that, fearing that the alleged involvement of several Justice and Development Party (AK Party) ministers in corruption might endanger the party’s future, the AK Party may alter the party bylaw that limits deputies to three consecutive terms in office.

Several media outlets close to the government have said the goal of the ongoing corruption investigation, in which four Cabinet ministers face allegations and two ministers’ sons have been arrested, is to reshape the AK Party by forcing out Prime Minister Erdoğan.

Rumor has it in the corridors of Ankara that if the AK Party, which received 50 percent of the national vote in the 2011 general elections, receives only 40 percent in the local elections to be held in March, Erdoğan, who is expected to run for the presidency in next year’s presidential elections, may abandon his plans and re-nominate incumbent President Abdullah Gül.

In such a scenario, the three-term rule will be an obstacle to Erdoğan’s continued leadership of the AK Party.

Some AK Party officials say the decision to alter the three-term rule will depend on the results of the local elections in March. If Erdoğan, who has so far objected to altering the three-term rule, decides that such a change is necessary, the rule can be changed without the need to convene a party congress.

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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