Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday the mayoral candidates of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party for 2014 local elections, which will be held on March 30.
The incumbent mayor Melih Gokcek will run for Ankara again, while the incumbent mayor Tahir Akyurek for Konya, the incumbent mayor Mehmet Ozhaseki for Kayseri and President of Eskisehir Chamber of Commerce Harun Karacan for Eskisehir.
In the latest 2009 local elections, the overall winner was the ruling AK Party, despite losing votes compared to the 2004 elections.
Since 1994, Melih Gokcek has been the mayor of capital Ankara, serving four consecutive terms. From 1984 to 1989 he was the Mayor of Kecioren, a district in Ankara.
The following two years, Gokcek ran the Social Services and Child Protection Agency as the General Director. In 1991 he entered the parliament as Ankara MP for the Welfare (Refah) Party. While he was an MP during the local elections in 1994, he stood for the Mayor of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and won the election.
He was elected for the same duty again in 1999 as the candidate of the Virtue (Fazilet) Party and became the first person to be successively elected as the Mayor of Metropolitan Municipality twice in the history of Ankara. He then joined the ruling AK Party and was re-elected third time in 2004 and even a fourth time in 2009. Gokcek won the elections with almost 1 million votes, followed by Murat Karayalcin of The Republican People's Party (CHP) with 750 thousand.
As for Konya, the central Anatolian province among the most crowded ones in Turkey, Tahir Akyurek of AK party won the latest municipal elections getting 68 per cent of votes and has been the mayor of Konya since 2004.
In 2009 Saadet Party was the second party with 14,9 per cent of votes.
Mehmet Ozhaseki of AK Party won the 2009 elections with 60.5 per cent in central Anatolian province of Kayseri, which is among the fastest growing provinces across the country. The candidate of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had 23 per cent of the total votes, coming in second in the province.
In Eskisehir, on the other hand, Yilmaz Buyukersen of The Democratic Left Party (DSP) won the 2009 elections with 51.5 per cent, followed by AK Party with 37.1 per cent.