ANKARA : Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned against the danger of any split in his ruling party, as he prepares to take presidency later this month to extend his domination of the country.
In his first keynote speech since he declared victory in Sunday’s presidential election, Erdogan rubbished suggestions he would rule as a dictator and vowed to reconcile a divided society.
“You know, there are some who have been rubbing their hands for 13 years hoping that cracks will emerge” in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has ruled Turkey since 2002, Erdogan said.
“For God’s sake, do not make happy those who are waiting for the party to wobble. The AK Party has become hope of the people,” he said.
Erdogan won the election with almost 52 percent of the vote, avoiding the need for a second round.
Analysts have said that one of the biggest intrigues after Erdogan becomes president on August 28 will be whether unity is maintained within the AKP.
Erdogan must step down as party leader when he takes the presidency and there has been intense speculation about the future of outgoing president Abdullah Gul, who is seen as a more moderate figure.
In his speech Thursday to regional party bosses, Erdogan said the AKP had to win a sufficient majority in legislative elections in 2015 to create a new constitution for Turkey.
The AKP wants to create a constitution that would give the presidency US-style executive powers and enshrine Erdogan’s position as the number one leader.
“We must hold a majority in the parliament to be able to write a new constitution. We must work with this belief.”
Returning to the social reconciliation message of his post-election speech on Sunday, Erdogan vowed that as president he would embrace all citizens in Turkey.
Erdogan branded accusations of one-man rule or being a dictator as a “smear campaign” and said: “As president of (a country of) 77 million, I will do my best to build the social reconciliation that we are longing for.”