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Gül not to attend AKP extraordinary congress

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Former President Abdullah Gül will not participate in an extraordinary congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sunday at which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to again be elected chairman, DHA reported.

According to the report, despite an invitation sent by a special courier, Gül decided not to attend, underlining his decision to “not participate in any political program after leaving the presidential position.”

Since a referendum held on April 16 allowed him to join a political party, Erdoğan signed a membership form and once again joined the ranks of the party on May 2.

During the extraordinary congress on Sunday, Erdoğan is also expected to announce the AKP’s new action plan for the 2019 presidential election, which will in effect turn Turkey’s system of governance into an executive presidency.

Turks approved a constitutional package in a referendum on April 16 with 51.4 percent of the vote, allowing Erdoğan to retain his ties to the AKP and paving the way to switching the country to an executive presidency.

Erdoğan was among the founders of the AKP in 2001 and served as its leader and as prime minister from March 2003 to August 2014, when he was elected president.

In Turkey’s former system, presidents had to remain impartial and sever ties with their political parties after being elected to the top state post; however, Erdoğan was being criticized for still acting like the AKP leader.

It is also expected that Erdoğan will reshuffle the Cabinet and the party organization. He is in addition expected to include people with whom he has been working in his presidential office in the Cabinet.

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