Behind the scenes at the Erdoğan-Davutoğlu meeting
The crisis that broke out in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on April 29 has resulted in the decision to hold an extraordinary party convention, made by the president and the prime minister at their meeting on May 4.
Instead of the prime minister’s resignation, the decision to hold a party congress came out from the Erdoğan-Davutoğlu meeting. Thus, the Davutoğlu era that started on Aug. 27, 2014 will end at the AK Party’s extraordinary convention to be held on May 28.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will not run for office at the convention. He had said during the AK Party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting one day before the meeting with the president that he did not want a convention to be held in a competitive atmosphere, nor did he favor a “dual-headed congress in the AK Party.”
Davutoğlu is a clean name. He will hand over his post in a clean way without getting into inner party fights. He will continue as an AK Party deputy.
Developments escalated within the AK Party after the meeting of its Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) on April 29, when this highest decision-making body took back from Davutoğlu the authority to appoint party provincial and district heads. Then in his parliamentary group speech on May 3, the prime minister gave signals that he may quit. But the actual development that broke their ties was a telephone conversation between the two men before the MKYK meeting.
When Davutoğlu said, “MKYK members are saying they are collecting signatures on your behalf,” President Erdoğan said this was “normal because I’m their leader.” Davutoğlu said, “You are also my leader. Let us either postpone the MKYK or let me come to meet you to discuss it.” But Erdoğan only answered: “Do whatever is necessary.”
One of the most important milestones in this period was the meeting between the president and the prime minister on May 4. It had been expected that Davutoğlu would carry his resignation letter in his pocket before entering the room for the meeting. However, after shuttle diplomacy that went on for the entire day, instead of this a new model came forward. In fact, on May 3, the night of the holy Mi’raj Kandil, Davutoğlu had called Erdoğan to celebrate the festival. The May 4 meeting was decided in that call.
President Erdoğan met with important names in the cabinet before meeting the prime minister, including Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım. Despite various reconciliation attempts, it emerged that Erdoğan did not have a “Plan B.” He concentrated on “Plan A,” which was for Davutoğlu to quit and for his position to be taken by a name identified by Erdoğan. “The president greeted the prime minister with this result in his mind. It was obvious from the beginning what he would say,” said reliable sources assessing the meeting.
It has been reported that the president told the prime minister to convene the party congress and hand over his position.
Five names are now being uttered for the post-Davutoğlu period: Bozdağ, Yıldırım, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş.
It is still not yet known which of these names President Erdoğan will point out.
In the Erdoğan–Davutoğlu era, there was a “strong leader-hardworking prime minister” model. However, there will be a new model in the relationship between Erdoğan and the person who takes Davutoğlu’s post.
Some suggest that a “technocratic” prime minister will be named, while others say “harmony” will be the dominant factor. The truth is that we will move to a de facto presidential system.
The atmosphere of the May 5 meeting between Davutoğlu and Erdoğan was neither harsh nor cordial. It was grounded in an old acquaintanceship. Although the prime minister brought suggestions about how to move forward, the president insisted that he quit.
Overall, it was an important day. With the end of Davutoğlu’s leadership, the AK Party has stepped into a new era.