Turkish ruling party says to maintain three-term limit

ANKARA Fri May 2, 2014 2:19pm EDT

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's ruling AK Party has decided to maintain a three-term limit for its deputies, the clearest signal yet that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will run for the presidency in an August election, the party said on Friday.

There has been speculation in Turkey that the AKP could change its rules to enable Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, to stay on as prime minister for a fourth term.

"It was decided appropriate to take no steps on the three-term rule," AKP spokesman Huseyin Celik said in a statement, following a five-hour meeting of the party's executive board to discuss the August presidential vote.

Erdogan said in October he would run in the country's first direct presidential election if asked to do so by the party.

But his failure to establish the executive presidency he wanted to beef up the largely ceremonial role, and a corruption scandal that has dogged his government since December, had fuelled speculation that he may seek to stay as prime minister.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Nick Tattersall, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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