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Turkey: Erdogan says March election his 'last'

March 9, 2024

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled willignness to step down after a little over two decades in power. His party hopes to retake the mayorship of Istanbul and Ankara in March's municipal elections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led Turkey since 2003, has said he will not run in future campaigns after a municipal vote in MarchImage: DHA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said municipal elections in March would be his last.

Erdogan has been in power since 2003.

"I am working non-stop. We're running around breathlessly because, for me, it's a final," he said at a meeting for the Turkish Youth Foundation (TUGVA).

"With the authority that the law confers on me, this election is my last election."

He said that he believed his conservative Justice and Development (AKP) party would stay in power after he leaves office, calling upcoming local elections "a blessing for the brothers who come after me."

"There will be a transfer of confidence," he said.

Over two decades in power

Erdogan was elected prime minister in 2003 and then president in 2014.

In 2017, a constitutional change abolished the office of prime minister, giving Erdogan full executive power.

In May last year, Erdogan fell short of a majority of votes in the first round of presidential elections. In 2014 and 2018, he won outright and there was no runoff vote.

In 2019, AKP candidates lost municipal elections in Turkey's most populous city, Istanbul, and its capital, Ankara, to candidates from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Erdogan himself was mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

sdi/rc (AFP, dpa)