President Erdogan returns to his post as AKP leader

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, greets members of his party during the Extraordinary Congress of the ruling AKP in Ankara, Turkey, May 21, 2017 (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pledged his commitment to leading Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as he will return to the post he forced to surrender nearly three years ago when he was elected president, a position traditionally above party politics.

Last month’s referendum created an executive presidential system which will give Erdogan sweeping new powers and allow the head of state to be a party member or leader.

Erdogan will be the first president to lead a party since Ismet Inonu, the successor of modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and was head of state until 1950. Erdogan, founder of the AKP, will thus replace current leader Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.