AKP lawmaker joins İzmir race .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - With two-and-half months to go till local elections, the political parties continued to publicize their candidates through meetings held over the weekend.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, candidates were declared by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday here. The party has chosen Taha Aksoy, the party’s İzmir Deputy to run for mayor of İzmir, a stronghold of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP. Aksoy was the party’s nominee in 2004 but lost against the CHP.

"I hope and am sure that İzmir ... will meet with AKP mayors," he said. "It’s only us who can solve the problems of beautiful İzmir." For Eskişehir, a fortress of social democrats whose mayor is popular Yılmaz Büyükerşen, Hasan Gönen will run as the AKP’s candidate.

In Sakarya, instead of current mayor, Aziz Duran, ,Mayor of Serdivan Zeki Toçoğlu, a district of Sakarya, will run for the post. Erdoğan said he was thankful to Aziz Duran but it was the time to handover the flag to Toçoğlu. In the meantime, Enver Toçoğlu, the cousin of Zeki Toçoğlu, will run for the same post from the ranks of opposition Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP.

Similarly in Bursa, instead of Hikmet Şahin, Mayor of Osmangazi, a Bursa district, Recep Altepe will run for the post. He did not specify why there was a need for change in Sakarya or in the Bursa mayoral race. In Samsun, Yusuf Ziya Yılmaz will try to be re-elected as mayor, Erdoğan said. Cengiz Bağdan, for Kırklareli and Mustafa Hatipler for Edirne will run for election as well. Advising his party fellows who could not be selected as a candidate, Erdoğan asked them to continue to work for the party and not be put out with the party.

"The politics are not performed only in the seat of mayor or parliamentarian. There are various ways to do it. I want all of you to work in favor of our party," he said.

For those who will run for election, Erdoğan said all nominees would have to work day and night until March 29. "You will not be the master of the town you’re elected to, but the servant of it. You and your spouse will be in command of your electorates," he said.

CHP picks a female for Bursa
CHP’s Deniz Baykal also announced a number of candidates for some cities over the weekend. İsmail Hakkı Düğer from Kütahya, Cem Hatunoğlu from Sakarya, Ahmet Tala Arca from Uşak, Tanju Özcan from Bolu, Ülgür Gökhan from Çanakkale, Ertan Şener from Yalova and Sena Kaleli from Bursa will try to win posts from their AKP competitors.

Sena Kaleli, a businesswoman in Bursa, is the grandchild of Kamil Koç, a leading transportation company of the country. After announcement of candidates, Baykal said the ruling party members were a collective of corruption and asked party members to fight against it. "We can no longer talk about corruption of individuals. It has become structural, institutional," Baykal said to his party fellows.