AKP to have smooth congress, says Deputy PM

AKP to have smooth congress, says Deputy PM

Abdulkadir Selvi - ANKARA
AKP to have smooth congress, says Deputy PM

AA photo

A senior government member has assured that the upcoming extraordinary convention of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), during which it will elect a new chairman and prime minister, will be concluded smoothly, while rejecting claims that the next premier will be a low-profile one. 

“Our convention to be held on May 22 will be an example,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan told a group of reporters on May 7, underlining his personal opinion that there will be just one candidate as the successor of AKP Chairman and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. “I think there will be one consensus candidate.”  

Following a series of serious rifts with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Davutoğlu announced on May 5 his decision to step down through an extraordinary convention slated for May 22. After Davutoğlu’s surprising move, all eyes turned to Erdoğan as the sole decision-maker in picking the new AKP chairman and therefore the new prime minister. 

A presidential aide had earlier said the next prime minister would be a low-profile one, meaning he or she would not try to steal the role from the president. 

“I do not accept such a definition. All figures in the AK Party [AKP] are strong. Describing the next prime minister as low-profile or a caretaker is disrespectful to him. We should all protect this person’s right… Erdoğan himself is the one that protects this,” Akdoğan said. 

The identity of the next prime minister will be disclosed before the convention, he stressed. “I dismiss concerns over the legitimacy of the next prime minister just because he was not the one who won the elections. The next prime minister will be from the AK Party ranks and someone from us.” 

Not personal, system faults 

Despite speculations, the problem was not a personal problem between the president and the prime minister, Akdoğan argued. “We have to look at the bigger picture. This is something beyond a personal conflict or disharmony. This is about a system problem,” he said.

Although the AKP is a very strong political party with strong leadership, faults in the system create governance problems in Turkey, the deputy prime minister said. “I wrote in the 1990s that we should adopt the presidential system and change the constitution as well as the administrative system. This is a need,” he added.

The same discussion was held after Erdoğan became the first Turkish president elected by popular vote in 2014 and Davutoğlu became his successor, he said. “We said that day: This would cause a crisis. The presidential system should be immediately brought to the agenda,” Akdoğan said, adding the election of a new prime minister will produce more harmony with the president but that it should not postpone the adoption of a presidential system.

Refuting the opposition parties’ description of Davutoğlu’s sudden departure as a “coup” staged by Erdoğan’s Presidency, Akdoğan said, “To have influence is something else to intervening; to stage a coup is another thing. Would the president have no influence over the government? The president is the head of the executive. This is a constitutional power of the president. Politically, he has the power as the leader of this movement.” 

Difficult to replace Erdoğan as PM 

It was always very difficult to serve as the prime minister after Erdoğan, a world-wide leader and the head of a political movement, Akdoğan stated. “Mr. Ahmet [Davutoğlu] did his best, he accomplished very important things. He led the party in two elections. He deems his term a success. The elections results prove this,” he said. 

Davutoğlu left the party leadership in the most dignified way and rejected to divide the AKP, Akdoğan said. “He behaved in the most responsible and mature way. All of the AK Party will show the utmost care in protecting his credit and will show him respect,” he added.