Erdogan, eyeing 2019 election, marks 16 years of his party's rise


On Monday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan marks 16 years since his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was formed and paved the way for his path to power, with recent speeches showing he aims for a decisive victory in the 2019 elections.

Erdogan has been telling supporters of the Islamic-conservative party that he aims to shake up the AKP ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections in two years, urging constituents to get ready to knock on doors in the upcoming campaign.

The president survived a coup attempt by a faction in the military last year and has since implemented a wide-ranging state of emergency, granting him sweeping powers to rule by decree. He has jailed some 50,000 people in connection to the attempt and is purging the civil service and military.

"We are determined to implement a serious renewal, a serious change in our party, starting from party organisations, ahead of the 2019 elections," Erdogan told a meeting in the Black Sea province of Giresun last week, one of several stump speeches.

In April, Erdogan declared victory in a referendum on expanding his powers, though election observers expressed concerns and the opposition said there was vote rigging.

The opposition has also been in trouble with Erdogan for calling the putsch last year a "controlled coup."

Erdogan has touted Turkey's economic growth during his time in power – first as prime minister and since 2014 as president – and has managed to curtail various opponents, including the military, long seen as the guardian of secularism in Turkey.    (dpa)

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