Friday, August 22, 2014
Davutoğlu designated as AKP leader and Turkey 's new prime minister
Davutoğlu en Erdoğan (r) shake hands at the AKP meeting in Ankara (Photo HürriyetDailyNews, 21 August 2014)
Turkey’s ruling party has formally designated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to be the successor of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as both prime minister and chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), marking the start of a new era in Turkish political life.
The AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK), which was convened under Erdoğan’s leadership, decided to propose Davutoğlu’s name for the chairmanship of the party, which will be elected during the AKP’s extraordinary congress in Ankara on Aug. 27.
The decision was announced by Erdoğan after a three-hour meeting at the party headquarters. ''Our nominee is our foreign minister, our Konya deputy, our brother Ahmet Davutoğlu," Erdoğan told the crowd, which included government ministers and journalists, at the AKP headquarters in Ankara.
Davutoğlu is expected to be given the mandate to form the next government by Erdoğan on Aug. 29, a day after the official presidential handover. He will become Turkey’s 26th prime minister following a procedural confidence vote at Parliament in early September.
There had been some specualtion that Erdoğan might follow the ''Russian model'' en switch places with outgoing president Abdullah Gül, like Putin did with Medvedev. In the end it seems that Davutoğlu's loyalty to Erdoğan may have been been decisive in tilting the balance in his favour. Davutoğlu showed his loyalty during difficult times, such as during last summer’s anti-government Gezi Park protests, the corruption operation in December, throughout the recent presidential election campaign, and also during the fight against the “parallel state,” a term used by government supporters to refer to the followers of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is seen as a dangerous enemy by the AKP en who has been in voluntary exile in the United States for over a decade.
Davutoğlue entered Parliament in 2011 as Konya deputy; but his role in shaping Turkish foreign policy dates back to 2002 under his capacity as chief advisor to PM Erdoğan and then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül. His book, titled “Strategic Depth,” contains important hints about the foreign policy understanding he has been propagating. He is a respected figure in the party and a well-known figure among the AKP’s grassroots. Davutoğlu is also believed to have the capacity to run the party’s new cadres and management without causing too much in-house tension. Another factor paving the way for Davutoğlu is his academic background, which has contributed to the AKP’s nationalist-conservative rhetoric and policies. Although long criticized by many for pursuing dangerous “neo-Ottoman policies,” his passionate involvement in developments in Gaza, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere is seen as a positive among many AKP supporters.