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POLITICS >Davutoğlu takes helm, pledges unity, harmony with presidency

ANKARA

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Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the only candidate to become the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) chairman, and therefore the prime minister, has pledged to work “in harmony” with President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and promised “unity” within the party.

Speaking at the ruling party’s extraordinary congress on Aug. 27, Davutoğlu addressed outgoing Prime Minister Erdoğan as “my president” and stressed that the convention was not one of “farewell,” but of “fidelity.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Davutoğlu struck a high pitch not only in terms of history and ideology, but also with his tone of excitement and lofty rhetoric. A key political message ran throughout it: There will be no conflict between the president and the prime minister, who have both been elected by popular vote.

“Nobody should try to stir up controversy between comrades,” Davutoğlu said, stressing unity in the party.

He presented a nine-point of “restoration” summary of AKP rule for the past 12 years, which he said will continue in the “walk for the new Turkey.”

“With the rule of AKP, this interregnum had come to an end … We have achieved a major construction along last 12 years,” Davutoğlu said, claiming that “old Turkey” had come to a “deadlock” in 2001.

“This recovery has nine fundamentals and this determined walk in nine areas will continue,” he added, citing the economy, culture, judiciary, freedom, foreign policy and “state structure” as being among these areas.

“We are ready to make any sacrifice to carry the AKP movement to its goals,” he said.

Davutoğlu’s speech was replete with historic and religious symbolism, with references to the Prophet Muhammad, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as the political predecessors of the ruling AKP.

He frequently addressed the audience saying “my comrades.”

“They accused us of being utopians and they said we were only dreaming. That’s true, we dream. But those who do not dream should be ashamed,” he said.

Davutoğlu also touched on the issue of the new Constitution, which the AKP needs a two-thirds majority at Parliament in the 2015 election to write unilaterally.

He also slammed last year’s anti-government Gezi Park protests and the corruption investigations for trying to “overthrow the government.”

“The goals of the Gezi incidents and the Dec. 17 and 25 plots aimed to destroy the self-assurance that we have instilled in the people,” he said

He vowed that the AKP would continue the ongoing Kurdish resolution process “with determination,” and rejected any approach based on sectarianism.

“Both our Sunni citizens and Alevi citizens are essential constituents of this land and will remain so,” Davutoğlu said, stressing that “freedoms” would be under the guarantee of the AKP government.

Davutoğlu was nominated as a candidate for the AKP chairmanship after receiving the votes of 1,382 AKP delegates at the congress, who struggled throughout the day at the Ankara Arena due to the air-conditioning failing to defeat the hot August sun.

August/28/2014

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