Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday that he planned to return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in the event that the upcoming referendum on transition to a presidential form of governance resulted in a "yes" majority.
Sputnik — The president added that there were plans to visit all 30 Turkish metropolises, and potentially a number of foreign countries, as part of the referendum campaign.
"When the ‘yes’ votes emerge from the referendum, an opportunity for me to register with the party [again] will be born," Erdogan told reporters, as quoted by the Hurriyet Daily newspaper.
Erdogan stressed that the government needed "to prepare the transition process appropriately." The country will have two years to transition to a presidential system if the amendments are supported by voters.
In January, the Turkish parliament approved a number of constitutional amendments that would boost presidential powers, including granting the president the ability to appoint some top judges and declare a state of emergency. Earlier in February, Erdogan approved those amendments, however, the move was criticized by opposition parties as an attempt by the president to grab power.
On February 11, Turkey’s Supreme Election Board announced that the Turkish referendum on constitutional changes would take place on April 16.