Ex-mayor calls for mayors to "resist" Erdoğan resignation call

A former AK Party Mayor of Adana has called on three present mayors from the party to ignore President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's order that they resign.

The print version of daily Sözcü reported Aytaç Durak as saying, "Definitely do not resign: resist."

I sent a message to [Mayor of Ankara] Melih Gökçek and the others. In that message I gave Gökçek this recommendation: If they cannot catch you out, don't resign. If you are absolved of the claims against you, Ankara will elect you again [...] Gökçek and the other mayors who have been asked to resign should not resign if they believe that no fault will be found in the investigations of the maybe dozens of inspectors that will be sent to them [...] In the end, they have been elected for five years. There may be other reasons behind why they have been asked to resign 1.5 years before the elections.

Durak had personally faced investigations for four years as Mayor of Adana before being found innocent of the charges against him.

He claims that Erdoğan had told him not to restand for mayoral office, and that he had become a target of the government after resigning from the AK Party and winning the mayoralty as the MHP candidate.

Durak's advice comes, however, on the same day that a CHP MP accused Mayor Gökçek of remaining in his position in order to benefit from land privatisation deals.

"A clause has been placed in the Compendium Bill that will extend the transfer of the Atatürk Forest Farm to the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality from 10 years to 30 years," Barış Yarkadaş said.

"After this clause becomes law, there will be a billion dollars' worth of economic rent."

Erdoğan has reportedly requested the resignation of 30 AKP mayors as part of an attempt to rejuvenate his party – and, some would say, to further centralise power within it.

So far, the mayors of Istanbul, Düzce and Niğde have tendered their resignations.