Erdogan re-elected as AK Party leader

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Erdogan re-elected as AK Party leader

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been re-elected as leader of the governing AK Party.

He secured the role for a third and final time at the annual party congress.

The Arab Spring and the crisis in Syria have turned Turkey into a key regional player. Erdogan called on Russia, China and Iran to reconsider their support of Damascus:

“We will do what a brother would do,” Erdogan told the audience. “We will continue to give the Syrian people our logistical support. We call on Russia and China, as well as Iran: please review the stance you have held on this matter until now.”

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi also evoked Syria during his speech to the congress. “Syrian people are being killed, day and night, on Syrian soil,” he said, “we cannot rest while this tragedy is going on. We will be on the side of the Syrian people until this bloodshed ends, the cruel regime is gone and the Syrian people are granted their full rights.”

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Meshal was also among the guests in Ankara. Popular among the party faithful, critics have accused Erdogan of an authoritarian approach. They also say he has failed to bring any hope of an end to the 28-year-old conflict in the mainly Kurdish south-east.