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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs