Pro-government columnist Abdulkadir Selvi has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to carry out a major cabinet reshuffle ahead of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s seventh Ordinary Congress on March 24.
Basing his column on backstage rumors, Selvi wrote on March 12: “What will happen in the presidency system is not for certain for now. But, there is an expectation in the backstage of the political arena that a reshuffle will take place in the cabinet before the big congress on March 24.”
Selvi recalled that the AKP has already made several changes in the administration of its provincial organizations, youth branches and women's branches. “Erdoğan describes this change with the phrase of 'We are bringing a new understanding,'” Selvi wrote.
“President Erdoğan does not see the 2023 elections as just another election. He says, 'The 2023 elections turned into an election of fate for Turkey.' Therefore he is forming the cadres which will take the party to the 2023 elections,” Selvi wrote.
“Erdoğan is structuring both the cabinet and the party according to the 2023 elections. Along with the cadres, also the discourse and policies need to be renewed,” he wrote.
The eroding support of the AKP and the threat to its parliamentary majority is no secret.
The latest surveys by pollsters have been indicating that the support for the AKP has fallen to its lowest point since 2002, when it came to power, which has pushed the party to renew its cadres.
Defeat in Turkey’s three largest cities in 2019 municipal elections highlights the challenge for the next national vote. Options for new party alliances are limited after Erdoğan’s virulent denunciation of opposition parties.
Trying to seize back the initiative, Erdoğan announced a government plan for human rights earlier in March and eased nationwide coronavirus lockdowns. He also promised changes to election rules, without giving details.
Pollsters say Erdoğan’s military interventions and assertive foreign policy, which dragged Turkey into political crises with the United States and European Union, had cost support in addition to the domestic difficulties.