Outgoing President Gül the first to congratulate next PM Davutoğlu

Outgoing President Gül the first to congratulate next PM Davutoğlu

Outgoing President Gül the first to congratulate next PM Davutoğlu

Turkey's outgoing president Abdullah Gül makes a farewell speech during a reception at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in Ankara, on Aug. 19. AFP PHoto / Turkish Presidency

Outgoing President Abdullah Gül became the first of a series of officials to congratulate Ahmet Davutoğlu after the foreign minister was nominated as a successor as prime minister to President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After a meeting at the headquarters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan announced that the party was designating Davutoğlu, 55, to replace him as the party’s new leader and prime minister.

Gül called Davutoğlu by telephone, while the latter was still on his way home from the party headquarters. Congratulating Davutoğlu, Gül also wished him success, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Gül was once considered a possible candidate for prime minister in a job swap with Erdoğan, but he has publicly split with Erdoğan. After the door for the premiership was shut on Gül in what many saw as a ruthless humiliation by his enemies in the AKP, the extent of his bitterness was highlighted at a farewell reception on Aug. 19 by his wife, Hayrünnisa Gül, who complained that her husband had been the victim of “many falsehoods and a great deal of disrespect.”

During the same reception, Gül became the highest-level official to openly name Davutoğlu as Turkey’s next prime minister, two days before the AKP’s announcement.

“As far as it seems, our foreign minister Ahmet Bey will take over [the Prime Ministry]. You know that it’s me who brought him into politics and into state life. It was me who appointed him as an ambassador,” Gül told the Ankara bureau chiefs of Turkish newspapers late Aug. 19, on the sidelines of his last farewell reception.

He was referring to the fact that Davutoğlu was first appointed as Gül’s chief foreign policy adviser during the latter’s short period as prime minister in early 2003. He continued to serve as an adviser to both Erdoğan and Gül until 2009, when he was appointed foreign minister. Davutoğlu was elected to Parliament for the first time in the 2011 elections.