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

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
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 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 Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs