Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan returned to lead the AK Party on Sunday, pledging to fight enemies at home and abroad. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Vowing to fight Turkey's enemies at home and aboard, President Tayyip Erdogan retaking the ruling AK Party's leadership on Sunday (May 21). Becoming the first Turk in nearly 70 years to serve simultaneously as head of state and of a political party. Pledging to maintain a state of emergency in Turkey until peace is achieved in its fight against Kurdish and Islamist militants. Thousands of cheering supporters gathered at the party's congress held at a sports stadium in the capital Ankara, where Erdogan was the only leadership candidate. He founded the AKP in 2001, leading it to victory in an election a year later and being forced to surrender the leadership nearly three years ago when he was elected president. A position traditionally above party politics. Last month's referendum changed that. When Turks narrowly backed a constitutional change giving Erdogan sweeping new powers and allowing the head of state to be a party member or leader. Opposition parties want the referendum annulled because of alleged irregularities. Claiming the reforms push Turkey towards a one-man rule. Some of the country's NATO allies and the European Union, which it aspires to join, have also expressed concern. However, Erdogan says the changes are vital to ensure stability in the country.