Former finance minister Simsek not interested in active politics
Turkey's former deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, Mehmet Simsek, said on Monday that he was not interested in active politics, while the AKP said President Tayyip Erdogan had not offered him office at a meeting.
Reuters reported last week that Erdogan wanted to put Simsek, who is highly regarded in international circles, back in charge of the economy and that the party's draft election program represented a return to more orthodox, free-market economic policies.
After meeting with Erdogan on Monday, Simsek said he was ready to provide the necessary support in his area. "But due to my work at foreign financial institutions, I am not thinking of entering active politics," he wrote on Twitter.
AKP spokesperson Omer Celik said Erdogan and Simsek had discussed recent developments and policies. "If he preferred an active policy, all mechanisms and tasks of our party would be open to Mr. Simsek," Celik told reporters.
Erdogan did not make Simsek an offer of a ministry, the vice presidency or the post of chief adviser on Monday, Celik said.
Turkey is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14 and opinion polls show that Erdogan will face his biggest electoral challenge yet in his two decades in power.
Erdogan's popularity has suffered mainly due to an erosion of living standards caused by the depreciation in the Turkish lira at a time when Ankara began pursuing a controversial economic model that was based on low interest rates.