Agencies (Qasioun) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejoined the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party upon signing his membership declaration during a special ceremony in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
Speaking at the ceremony at AK Party headquarters, Erdogan said: "Today, I return to the party that I founded, my home, my passion, my love, which I had to leave according to our Constitution on Aug. 27, 2014, when I was elected president."
Under the previous Constitution’s rules prior to the referendum, a Turkish president could not hold membership of a political party. The April 16 referendum on constitutional reforms overturned that rule.
In his speech at the ceremony, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Erdogan will be nominated chairman of AK Party during the congress that will be held on May 21.
Erdogan led the AK Party for 13 years starting in 2001 but had to step aside when he became president in August 2014, due to a legal requirement for presidents to be politically neutral.
While handing over leadership to then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at an AK Party extraordinary congress in 2014, Erdogan bid farewell to party members but added he was leaving with “the hope of rejoining”.
Erdogan becomes the fourth president to retain his party ties. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, maintained his membership in the Republican People’s Party (CHP), as did his successor, Ismet Inonu.