Turkey to hear name of its next PM today

Turkey to hear name of its next PM today

Turkey to hear name of its next PM today

AA Photo

The name of the next prime minister of the Republic of Turkey will become clear after an Aug. 21 meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), chaired by President-elect and outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a senior Cabinet member said on Aug. 20.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız was prompted to make such a clarification after a journalist questioned about outgoing President Abdullah Gül’s remarks at a farewell reception on Aug. 19, which suggested that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was likely to take over as chairman of the ruling party and thus become the next prime minister.

“Our Mr. President said: ‘As far as I see, Mr. Davutoğlu seems at the forefront.’ It shouldn’t be interpreted as the announcement of a name. This will become official with the final meeting, which will be held by our Mr. Prime Minister, our newly-elected President,” Yıldız told reporters, referring to a meeting of the AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK), scheduled to be held on Aug. 21.

Davutoğlu, meanwhile, held a closed-door meeting with South Africa’s special envoy for Palestine at the Foreign Ministry headquarters after a days-long tour in cities across Eastern Anatolia and the Eastern Black Sea. He had been sent on the trip, which has been seen by many as a sign of his impending promotion, to thank AKP voters for supporting Erdoğan’s successful presidential bid.

Gül’s farewell reception remarks also reflected disappointment over the recent pro-Erdoğan media campaign apparently directed against his staff and advisors at the presidency. Asked whether he agreed that Gül was “offended,” Yıldız framed the disagreements as a “family matter.”

“Those who do not love do not display admonition either. Admonition stems from love. It is a family matter that can happen between elder brothers and younger brothers and between fathers and sons. That’s why I believe that assessing this within such a family framework would be better to correctly understand it,” he said.

Erdoğan will step down as leader of the AKP when he is inaugurated as head of state on Aug. 28, as required by the Constitution. However, he has made it clear that he wants the party he co-founded with Gül more than a decade ago to remain loyal and unified in his absence.

Speculation has been growing that Davutoğlu, a close Erdoğan ally, was being groomed as his replacement. Some within the ruling party have pushed for Gül, a more conciliatory figure than Erdoğan, to take up the premiership. But there have been signs in recent months that the relationship between the two men has cooled, and Davutoğlu is seen as a key Erdoğan loyalist, sharing many foreign and domestic policy aims.

The formal announcement of Erdoğan’s replacement is expected following an extraordinary congress of the AKP, due on Aug. 27.