AKP names Yıldırım as new chairman, PM
Turkey’s ruling party has named Transportation and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım as the new chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), with the prime minister-designate vowing to work in “full harmony” with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Our dear friend; İzmir Deputy and Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım has been designated with great consensus as the candidate for the chairmanship,” deputy AKP leader and spokesperson Ömer Çelik announced after a party meeting on May 19.
Çelik recalled that Yıldırım was selected as the party’s nominee following a comprehensive in-house survey and consultations within relevant bodies of the AKP. It has been stressed that around 80 percent of the party executives had agreed on Yıldırım.
The party will convene an extraordinary convention on May 22 to elect Yıldırım to the leadership of the AKP as current leader Ahmet Davutoğlu will step down on the same day. Davutoğlu, who was elected as the AKP leader in August 2014, had to abandon his position after a series of disagreements with Erdoğan, who is deemed to be the real leader of the AKP.
“To be deemed worthy to the leadership of the AKP is the highest honor and at the same time a very big responsibility for me,” Yıldırım said.
“I want to thank all my party’s organization and all the members of the AKP for choosing me as the candidate for the party leadership,” he said in his address to AKP officials after he was announced as the candidate on May 19.
In a short statement, Yıldırım issued brief but important messages. The convention to be held on May 22 will be the venue where all members of the party will strengthen ties, Yıldırım said. “Rather than disintegration, this convention of ours will indicate determination to continue in our blessed march.”
His second message was that his leadership would seek full harmony, particularly with Erdoğan as the real leader of the AKP.
“We will exert all efforts to reach our objective for a Great Turkey by working in full harmony with all our friends in different ranks of the party, particularly with our founding president and leader,” he said. “No one should have any doubt about this.”
Third, he said the terror problem was the biggest concern in the country and vowed: “My people should not worry. We will remove this terror issue from Turkey’s agenda.”
Yıldırım in Diyarbakır
Immediately after his candidacy was announced, Yıldırım went to Diyarbakır to meet with the families of the victims of a May 13 terror attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that killed 16 villagers just outside the city center.
“The meaning of this visit is this: Nobody will be able to harm our brotherhood,” Yıldırım told reporters in Diyarbakır, saying he had chosen to come to the southeastern province immediately after he was selected as the new AKP chairman. Reiterating his statement in Ankara to remove terrorism from the country’s agenda, he said his government “will do whatever is required to this end.”
The Sarıkamış neighborhood in the Sur district of the southeastern Diyarbakır province was hit by an explosion that occurred when a huge quantity of explosives in a truck driven by PKK militants was detonated.
Davutoğlu calls Yıldırım
In the meantime, Davutoğlu phoned Yıldırım to congratulate him and wish him success in his new position. Yıldırım thanked Davutoğlu for his successful premiership after the leadership flag was handed to him by Erdoğan in the summer of 2014. “I thank Mr. Davutoğlu for the services he made on behalf of my party and my people,” Yıldırım said.
Erdoğan, Davutoğlu meet
Davutoğlu paid a farewell visit to Erdoğan late in the afternoon on May 19, with the two men discussing the timing of the resignation of the prime minister. Davutoğlu is expected to resign from the premiership on May 22 after the AKP’s convention. Erdoğan will likely give the mandate to form the new government to Yıldırım again on May 22 as he will be very busy with a U.N. Humanitarian Summit on May 23 and 24.
Yıldırım is expected to introduce his government to Erdoğan on either late May 24 or May 25 and read his government’s program in the upcoming days before it is submitted for a vote of confidence in parliament.