News / Europe

In Turkey, Erdogan's PM Choice Central to Ambitions

  • Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and wife Ermine wave to supporters as they celebrate his  presidential victory, in front of the party headquarters, in Ankara, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • A cat sleeps next to a newspaper showing a photo of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in central Istanbul, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • Supporters of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan celebrate his election victory in front of the party headquarters, in Ankara, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • A queue of people wait to vote in the presidential election, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2014. (Mehtap Colak Yilmaz/VOA)
  • A man casts his ballot in the presidential election, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2014. (Mehtap Colak Yilmaz/VOA)
  • Competing campaign billboards for the presidential election line the street, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2014. (Mehtap Colak Yilmaz/VOA)
Erdogan Wins Presidential Poll
Dorian Jones

With Recep Tayyip Erdogan elected president, his first challenge is finding a successor for the office of prime minister and a leader for his political party, AKP. While he says he wants to maximize the power of the presidency, the real power still remains in parliament.

With a general election due in less than a year, finding a leader that can keep his party united -- while at the same time is loyal enough to maintain his power -- is seen as a key challenge facing Erdogan.
 
His supporters celebrated into the early morning after Erdogan was elected Turkey’s 12th president.

Turkey, presidential election results, Aug. 11, 2014Turkey, presidential election results, Aug. 11, 2014
x
Turkey, presidential election results, Aug. 11, 2014
Turkey, presidential election results, Aug. 11, 2014

While he scored a first-round victory with an absolute majority of the voters, analyst Sinan Ulgen of the Carnegie Institute in Brussels said the new president has a pressing problem.

According to the Turkish constitution, the main executive power is held by the prime minister and not the president, according to Ulgen. It is clear Erdogan will want to introduce a de-facto executive presidency, but that is going to be difficult given Turkish constitutional order. So the name that will replace Erdogan as the next prime minister of the country, will also be extremely important.

AK Party decisions
 
Although his AK Party dominates parliament, choosing a successor may not be easy. Ulgen said the new prime minister will have to be a skilled politician.
 
"The next prime minister will have to do a very complicated act of political balancing. On the one hand, he will have to impose his authority over the party. He will need to have to establish a sense of balance with the president-elect. And he will have to take his party to the parliamentary elections in 2015," he said.

Another factor, which Erdogan is expected weigh when choosing a new prime minister, will be the ability of his successor to hold the ruling AK Party together.
 
The party is made up of wide-ranging and often conflicting factions. Analysts say Erdogan’s biggest achievement as prime minister was his ability to keep the party united.

Possible successors

Opponents fear an increasingly authoritarian state. Erdogan chaired a meeting Monday of the party's highest decision-making board, the first step in a process that will culminate with the naming of his replacement as prime minister once he is inaugurated as president on August 28.

Party spokesman Huseyin Celik said the AK Party will hold an extraordinary convention on August 27, at which it will select a new party leader, a figure Erdogan is then expected to ask to form a new government.

Senior AK officials say Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who has strong support within the party bureaucracy and has been Erdogan's right-hand man internationally, is the top choice to succeed him, although former transport minister Binali Yildirimis also is trying to position himself for the job.

President Abdullah Gul, long seen as a potential future prime minister, on Monday signaled a return to politics after his term expires on August 28, saying he would play a role in the ruling AK Party he co-founded with Erdogan. Gul could not become prime minister immediately as he is not currently a member of parliament, although his role could change after parliamentary elections due in 2015.

General elections

Next year, Turkey holds general elections. Political columnist Asli Aydintasbas of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, said the outcome of those polls will be crucial to Erdogan’s ambitions.
 
"Erdogan will not be the head of the party so the party will go into election without an extremely charismatic figurehead," he said. "They will actually be fighting their own battles. And on top of it, if they don't raise their votes, they will fall short of the number in parliament they need to change the constitution. So who heads the party for 2015 is extremely important."

Turkey’s recent political history is littered with powerful political leaders who, after becoming president, have seen their powers whither.  

If Erdogan is able to orchestrate the appointment of a malleable interim prime minister, he is expected to influence decisions and continue to run the government until he fulfills his long-term ambition of replacing the parliamentary system with a presidential one. This makes his choice of successor one of the most important decisions he will have to make in his new role.

Reuters information contributed to this report.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs