Islamist leader says Erdoğan’s party luring opposition mayors with budget allocations

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Temel Karamollaoğlu

Turkey’s Islamist opposition party leader has said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party has been trying to lure opposition mayors to join their ranks by offering to allocate more funds for municipal debt, the BBC Turkish service reported.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Bülent Turan on Monday announced that at least 100 opposition mayors would join Erdoğan’s party in the coming weeks.

Temel Karamollaoğlu, chairman of the Felicity Party (SP), reacted angrily to Turan’s remarks, saying that the AKP’s tactics are dirty.

“A mayor says, ‘I’m sorry, I have to do this. I can’t repay the debts I inherited from previous administration.’ And the AKP government says, ‘If you join our ranks, we’ll pay them,’” Karamollaoğlu said on Monday at a party meeting in Kahramanmaraş.

“Can a country be governed like that? Is that democracy?” he asked.

According to Turkish media reports, the opposition mayors that will soon become members of the ruling AKP are mostly from small districts and towns.

In addition to the SP, Erdoğan’s AKP has been trying to convince mayors from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party to switch parties.

On Tuesday, 3 mayors from SP, İYİ Party and CHP, along with 2 independent mayors joined AKP.

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