News / Middle East

Turkey's Davutoglu Expected to Be a Compliant PM

Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sit together during a party meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 21, 2014.
Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sit together during a party meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 21, 2014.
Dorian Jones

Ahmet Davutoglu was named Turkey’s new prime minister Thursday, replacing Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now president-elect.

There was much fanfare in a packed auditorium of supporters and media this week as president-elect Erdogan announced to his ruling AK party that his successor will be foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Political columnist Asli Aydintasbas of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet says one of the first priorities of the new prime minister will be to repair relations with Turkey’s allies and neighbors.

"Turkish relations with the East and West is quite significantly strained. There is also nothing going on with the European Union. We don't have ambassadors in some of the neighboring countries. Things with Baghdad are bad. We actually have a war of words with the Sissi government and no ambassador. Same with Israel. Perhaps with Davutoglu, since he is not as harsh as Erdogan when he speaks, he will try to fine tune the message that comes out of Ankara," said Aydintasbas.

But some analysts say Davutoglu's ability to maneuver is likely to be constrained. When Erdogan ascends to the presidency next week, a position defined by the constitution as non-partisan and largely ceremonial, he has made it clear his intentions to continue to run the country, says political columnist Aydintasbas.

"Tayyip Erdogan is already saying once he becomes the president he is actually going to be in charge of the executive branch. He will be running a lot of things within the government and party," he said.

Erdogan’s control is predicted to extend to even selecting key ministers in Davutoglu's government. This includes the foreign minister, widely tipped to be the current intelligence chief; Hakan Fidan, who Erdogan’s describes as the keeper of his secrets and is seen as one of his closest allies.

International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, says Davutoglu's power is limited by his standing within the party.

"He is one of the names that party people mention, but it's not an exhilarating enthusiastic support for him. He is around 4 or 5 percent within the party and one percent in the general public," said Ozel.

Earlier this week Davutoglu toured the eastern Black Sea region, a political stronghold for the AK party. He is expected to work hard to build up his image both within the party and country.

That will be important, with general elections due in 10 months.

Constitutional changes require a two-thirds majority in the Turkish parliament, and Davutoglu has pledged to support President-elect Erdogan’s goal of introducing constitutional reform to turn Turkey into a presidential system.

But observers say even though Davutoglu's loyalty was a key factor behind Erdogan’s choice to make him prime minister, some question his wherewithal.

Coming from an obscure impoverished mountain town in southern Turkey,  Davutoglu's career has been defined by struggle and self-confidence built on his meteoric rise.

Analyst Ozel says he questions how long Davutoglu will be prepared to be a pliant prime minister to the new president.

"Mr. Erdogan will run the party through proxies. Although, I must say given Mr. Davutoglu's self identification and his own self perception, how long he can tolerate in the shadows is the big question?" He said.

Observers say Davutoglu comes from the ideological side of the ruling AK Party, which is rooted in political Islam and shares similar goals to those of Erdogan. Both are keen on redefining the country by "building a new Turkey." What that new Turkey actually will be remains unclear, but for Erdogan the new prime minister remains key to achieving that vision.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

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

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
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 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 Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs