Kılıçdaroğlu slams Erdoğan for joining AKP: ‘A party leader can’t be president of all the people’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) receives membership declaration from Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (L) during a special ceremony for him to rejoin Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party after signing his membership declaration during a special ceremony in the capital Ankara, Turkey on May 02, 2017. AFP

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Tuesday, saying the leader of a political party cannot be president of all the people.

“The leader of a political party can only be the president of those who voted for that party. He will only be respected within this framework,” Kılıçdaroğlu said while addressing the CHP parliamentary group on Tuesday.

Underlining that Erdoğan had already lost his impartiality despite the presidential oath he took, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “It’s like appointing the captain of Fenerbahçe [sports club] as the referee of a Fenerbahçe match. Can something like that happen?”

Kılıçdaroğlu further said the continuation of the state of emergency that was declared following a failed coup last summer had caused a “de facto suspension of the Turkish Constitution.”

On Tuesday Erdoğan signed a membership form and once again joined the ranks of the ruling AKP since a referendum held on April 16 enabled him to join a political party.

Turkey approved a constitutional package in the referendum with 51.4 percent of the vote, allowing Erdoğan to retain his ties to the AKP and switching the country to an executive presidency.

The AKP will also hold an extraordinary party convention on May 21 at which Erdoğan is expected to run as the only candidate for AKP leadership.

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