The meeting lasted around two hours. Gökçek, who made a comment on his Twitter account following the meeting, said, “I submitted to his excellency my President all details of the project for the museum to be constructed opposite the Presidential Complex. I also passed on various pieces of information about the metropolitan municipality’s ongoing projects.”
The claim is doing the rounds in the lobbies that, after President Tayyip Erdoğan had conveyed the message to mayors resisting resignation, “Either expulsion from the party or investigation for neglect and abuse of duty,” Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Melih Gökçek submitted an undated letter of resignation.
Erdoğan spoke with Gökçek and Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur in the evening.
President Erdoğan commented to journalists in the plane on his return from Iran in response to questions about the resignation of mayors, “Those who believe in and are devoted to this cause will tender their resignation to headquarters and there can then be continuation on the road with another colleague. There are two expulsion methods at municipalities. Expulsion from the party or neglect and abuse of duty. Of course, we do not want to try these means. It was all well and fine when being brought into an office, so, when there is a wish for the office to be vacated in situations that I have described as metal fatigue, why is this treated as being strange? If you say, ‘I have my dignity and honour,’ I’m sorry but I imagine the party’s honour and everyone’s honour takes far greater precedence over that.”
Erdoğan, asked whether others had been identified who would be prevailed on to resign, said, “No, there can be no such thing. When it happens, when we are confronted by certain things, we make an assessment. God forbid, far worse things could also happen. We must embark on the local elections scheduled for March 2019 by making preparations. Indeed, complaints reach the Interior Ministry not just about our party, but about other parties.” Ankara was abuzz with activity in the wake of Erdoğan’s comments. Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Melih Gökçek and Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur, who are resisting resignation, had separate discussions at Beştepe with President Erdoğan in the evening hours. From claims doing the rounds in AKP lobbies, Gökçek submitted an undated letter of resignation. It is said that President Erdoğan will decide when Gökçek’s resignation will be processed and he may wait a while for this. Uğur was said to have resigned after having spoken with Erdoğan. The talks between Gökçek and Erdoğan continued late into the night.
Accused of selling Ankara lot by lot to the parallel structure
Despite accusations of electoral fraud, Melih Gökçek has served for years as Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor since he first won the elections in 1994. Gökçek, who came to office at a time when Süleyman Demirel was president and Tansu Çiller prime-minister, continued to serve during the Mesut Yılmaz, Necmettin Erbakan, Bülent Ecevit, Abdullah Gül, Tayyip Erdoğan and Ahmet Davutoğlu governments. There has been no end to the gaffes committed by Gökçek, who, in the year he came to office on the Refah Party ticket had the statue named “In the Land of the Fairies” removed from Altınpark saying, “They have called immorality art; I spit on such art.” The controversy involving Gökçek that sticks most firmly in minds was the controversy over former Deputy Prime-Minister Bülent Arınç’s statements in the runup to the 7 June elections, “He has sold Ankara lot by lot to the parallel structure.” Gökçek, who said, “There has been no ‘lot by lot’ sale as Arınç puts it. I saw it as being a charitable body that attached importance to education so as to raise righteous kids,” stayed in the limelight on later stating, “I regret the places I gave the Gulenist movement for charitable work.”
“Resigning or departing from a post should not be seen as a problem”
Erdoğan commented in reply to journalists’ questions on the plane back from Iran, “Our political party is at the same time a cause. Those who believe in and are devoted to this cause will come to headquarters and tender their resignation and there can then be continuation on the road with another colleague. In any case, the person who resigns takes a step of this nature not with the aim of resigning from the party, but to vacate the position they hold.
It was all well and fine when being brought into an office, so, when there is a wish for the office to be vacated in situations that I have described as metal fatigue, why is this treated as being strange? In fact, resigning or departing from a post should not be seen as a problem in this cause. Indeed, many of our colleagues have previously vacated many posts and have then assumed other duties. But if you do not see it as a cause and act calculatingly not disinterestedly; If you say, ‘I have my dignity and honour,’ I’m sorry but I imagine the party’s honour and everyone’s honour takes far greater precedence over that.”
Prime-Minister Yıldırım's meeting at which he had been scheduled to come together with President Erdoğan at 19.30 as part of State Day did not take place because of the continuing Erdoğan-Gökçek summit. It was announced that the Erdoğan-Yıldırım meeting had been postponed.
Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Edip Uğur, who is allegedly to resign from his post, also met with President Erdoğan today.
Post-meeting comment from Melih Gökçek
Melih Gökçek made a comment on his Twitter account after his talks at Beştepe. Gökçek said in his post, “I asked for an appointment from his excellency the President yesterday evening. We spoke this evening. I submitted to his excellency my President all details of the project for the museum to be constructed opposite the Presidential Complex. I also passed on various pieces of information about the metropolitan municipality’s ongoing projects. Let the public be informed.”