Melih Gökçek, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality mayor, announced his resignation on Saturday, saying his decision came after an order from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“After evaluating the situation, the chairman of my party [the Justice and Development Party (AKP)] and my leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, requested my resignation. In my cause, obey the order, no matter what!” said Gökçek during a press conference in Ankara.
“Not for being unsuccessful, tired or any other concerns, I only indulge the demand of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who I believe will make my country a leading country,” Gökçek added, underlining that he had rejected suggestions by some to refuse to leave the post.
“In accordance with the order of our leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, I am leaving the mayoral post. I resign from the duty that I have done for 23 years without hesitation.”
“People do not take these offices as independent candidates but as candidates put forward by parties. We cannot regard these posts as chairs that are kept forever and never given up,” Erdoğan said in a recent statement.
Turkish media reported that Erdoğan asked Ankara Mayor Gökçek, Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe and Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur to resign as part of preparations for the 2019 elections.
Speaking to reporters in Bursa on Monday, Altepe announced his resignation, saying he would never oppose Erdoğan’s leadership.
When asked by a reporter in Balıkesir on Monday, Uğur said he would not comment on his resignation.
Kadir Topbaş, mayor of İstanbul, Mehmet Keleş, mayor of Düzce, and Faruk Akdoğan, mayor of Niğde, earlier resigned in accordance with the call from President Erdoğan.