The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought together prominent party figures, past and present, in a bid to mobilize them ahead of the April 16 referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, though former President Abdullah Gül and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
were not present at the meeting.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım met former AKP cabinet ministers at the AKP headquarters in Ankara, with the constitutional referendum on the agenda.
All former ministers who have served in AKP cabinets, apart from those who were dismissed or who resigned,
were invited to the breakfast meeting. However, Gül and Davutoğlu, who have been distant from party works since leaving their positions, were notably absent, citing other commitments.
Former Parliamentary spokespersons Cemil Çiçek, Bülent Arınç and Mehmet Ali Şahin, as well as former deputy prime ministers Beşir Atalay and Yalçın Akdoğan, were among those who attended the meeting.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Şahin said it was “fruitful” and the participants had chance to exchange opinions about the referendum process.
“It was a very beneficial meeting. We met with our friends who have assumed positions in the AKP cadres since the party’s foundation. Of course, we discussed our views on the referendum. I benefited from this process and I believe our prime minister and party administrators also did,” he added. When asked about why the meeting lasted longer than planned, Şahin only said this was an indicator of “how beneficial the meeting was.”
Arınç, meanwhile, described the meeting as “beneficial,” adding simply: “See you after April 17.”