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Ankara mayor steps down amid tensions with Erdogan

Europe
23.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - The mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara, Melih Gokcek, announced his resignation on Twitter on Monday, following pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to vacate his post.

Gokcek, a fellow member of Erdogan‘s Islamic-conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), said he would leave office on Saturday in a tweet to his 4 million followers.

The 69-year-old met with Erdogan prior to the announcement.

He has been mayor of the capital, and city of his birth, since 1994.

Gokcek was formerly considered an ally to the Turkish president, but Erdogan called on him and other AKP mayors to step down in increasingly vitriolic statements in recent days.

The outgoing Ankara mayor is an avid user of social media, often using the platform to lambaste his opponents. He has also raised eyebrows for blaming the geological activities of foreign powers for earthquakes on Turkish soil.

Erdogan, who has been accused in recent months of consolidating power and undermining Turkish democracy, has warned of changes in the AKP.

In late September, the mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbas, stepped down in a surprise announcement after more than 13 years in office.

In both Ankara and Istanbul, a majority of voters opposed changes to the constitution to give the president‘s office greater powers in an April referendum.

 

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