Erdoğan replaces AKP mayors
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has said his AKP party must undergo a process of renewal and has called on several mayors to resign. A number of them, including Kadir Topbaş in Istanbul, have obeyed. Now pressure is growing on Ankara's long-standing mayor Melih Gökçek to step down too. Critical commentators fear this is another bid by the president to tighten his grip on power.
President acting like an autocrat
Turkish President Erdoğan has publicly threatened those AKP mayors who have resisted his call to step down. The head of state and AKP leader seems not to care at all about the theoretical separation of powers in the country, Hürriyet Daily News writes worriedly:
“The ruler of the country declared: 'Irrespective of whether they want it or do not want it, we will do it. It is going to happen.' Was he a legislator? No. Was he technically the sole lawmaker of the country? No. But that has become the de facto reality of Turkey which, once the 2019 elections are held will be the de jure situation. ... Turkey has definitely become a paradise for those people willing and wishing to constantly applaud rule of the president.”
Even critics are backing autocracy
Evrensel is appalled that even Turks who are critical of the AKP have failed to denounce the politicians' illegal removal from office - and are even upping the pressure on Ankara's mayor:
“It's clear from the discussions on social networks running under the tag 'Resign, Melih Gökçek' that the majority in this country isn't bothered in the slightest to see an unpopular mayor forced to resign or removed from office. On the contrary, everyone seems to think: no matter what it costs the main thing is that this elected mayor whom I don't like goes. This attitude is extremely convenient for the government, which has no idea of either justice or law and order. Unfair and illegal measures are being taken with the backing of the media and the public.”