Most likely scenario: Davutoğlu to be PM

Most likely scenario: Davutoğlu to be PM

Serkan Demirtaş Ankara
Most likely scenario: Davutoğlu to be PM

A strong signal came from Erdoğan on Aug. 9, as he held his last and one of his largest public rallies in Konya, Davutoğlu’s hometown and stronghold.

With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election as president, politics in Ankara is now focused on the next prime minister and chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who is expected to be announced by Erdoğan in the coming days.

The most likely scenario floating in the capital suggests two figures as potential prime ministers, Ahmet Davutoğlu and Binali Yıldırım, although the former has more of a chance. Yıldırım, however, is expected to serve for Erdoğan at the presidency as his right hand man.

The AKP is expected to hold its extraordinary convention before the presidential handover slated for Aug. 28 in a bid to elect the new chairman so that Erdoğan will be able to give the mandate to form the new government on the same day he takes office. He is set to conclude consultations with the party within the coming days before announcing his successor.

A strong signal came from Erdoğan on Aug. 9, as he held his last and one of his largest public rallies in Konya, Davutoğlu’s hometown and stronghold. On Aug. 10, front pages of numerous newspapers were full of stories about Davutoğlu who hinted that he was mentally ready to assume this job. The message he delivered between the lines was simple: if the next prime minister agrees to work in harmony with President Erdoğan then there would be no problem.

What makes Davutoğlu more advantageous, in comparison to any other potential candidates, is that
he has no three-term limitation problem, as he still can run for Parliament for two more terms. Another point is that he has shown full loyalty to Erdoğan in critical moments and has proven that he may continue to work in harmony with the president.  

Furthermore, although his performance as foreign minister has been controversial and debatable, his support to Erdoğan as ideologue is still very important given the fact that the party will now have to pass another test in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Davutoğlu is believed to have a capacity to mobilize the party’s grassroots and keep the party united and lead the Cabinet in the best possible way.

However, he will have to accept that he will have no last word on many governmental decisions and even the next Cabinet will be prepared under Erdoğan’s control. In the case of Davutoğlu’s election as the next prime minister, the current EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the prime minister’s foreign policy advisor İbrahim Kalın and the current National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan are all considered as potential foreign ministers. However, Çavuşoğlu is seen more close to this position while Kalın would continue to serve Erdoğan at the presidency. Fidan is likely to stay at the MİT, at this very important moment as the government continues to fight against the parallel state. To this end, Interior Minister Efkan Ala is expected to keep his position along with other ministers who joined the Cabinet in the last reshuffle in the fall of 2013.

The most important question, however, is whether Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who is responsible for the economy, and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek will continue on in the Cabinet. Babacan and Şimşek are facing internal criticisms especially from Yiğit Bulut, Erdoğan’s economic advisor, whose name is frequently mentioned among potential ministers although he is not a deputy.