Turkey's Erdogan to Run for President in August
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be his party's presidential candidate at the vote this August, ruling AKP officials say.
The widely expected announcement comes briefly after President Abdullah Gul declared he was not intending to stand for a second term in office, amid speculations he might try to do so and could put Erdogan's ambitions in jeopardy.
Party of Justice and Development (AKP) Deputy Chairman Mehmet Ali Sahin explained to a crowd of 4000 party members in Ankara that the decision to pick Erdogan as a candidate was a product of consultations.
The Prime Minister himself was quoted by Hurriyet Daily News as describing the forthcoming elections as "a milestone" and "a new era" as he was holding an acceptance speech in front of the delegates.
August's vote will be the first time that a Turkish head of state is directly elected by citizens.
Erdogan is planning also to seek boosting of the president's role in power through a new constitution that has been in preparation for months.
In June, the larger opposition parties, Republican People's Party (CHP) and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pointed Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the ex-head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as their joint candidate for the post.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman the People's Democratic Party (HDP) is also due to stand for election and is also to represent the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP),