Jan 11 2018

“I want to write a column for Sözcü” – Former AKP Ankara mayor

The former mayor of Ankara for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said he would like to have a write a regular column in the opposition Sözcü newspaper to provide different opinions if the newspaper management agreed, the newspaper said.

Melih Gökçek, who served as Ankara’s mayor for more than 23 years, resigned on Oct. 28, 2017 at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“If the Sözcü management agrees, I would really like to write for them. There can be different opinions. My salary expectations are not high. I am ready to write,” Gökçek was quoted as saying. “Another newspaper offered me a column. But I would prefer writing for Sözcü.”

Sözcü, the third-biggest selling newspaper in Turkey, is known for its strident secularist and anti-government stance, and its defence of the values of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the country's military. Gökçek repeatedly sued Emin Çölaşan, one of the paper's main columnists, for insult and libel after a high-profile spat over several years, and the pair have never made up.

Gökçek said he looked after the property of the nation during his time as a mayor and the people who have made corruption claims about him are “imposters”, the newspaper said.