News / Europe

Turkish Foreign Minister Named Next Prime Minister

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

Turkey’s ruling AK Party has chosen Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as the successor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who is now the president-elect.

The central committee of Turkey’s ruling AK Party named Foreign Minister Davutoglu as the new prime minister, a move that will take effect later in the month.  The choice was widely predicted.   

Announcing the decision to senior members of the party and media,  Erdogan said he consulted widely before making a decision.

"What is expected of the new prime minister is to realize our dream of the new Turkey," he said, adding that Ahmet Davutoglu’s hard work and ambition influenced the decision, reached on merit.  He said Davutoglu "is committed to a foreign policy with a conscience and our belief is he will continue this commitment as prime minister," said Erdogan.
Davutoglu promised he would continue the work of Erdogan.

"I will continue this restoration movement started 12 years ago when Turkey was seen as the sick man of Europe,"  he said.  "Our celebrated journey will reach its target.  The AK Party will stand as a monumental rock against its adversaries.  The AK Party struggle for rights and democracy is not limited by years or centuries."
Analysts describe the 55-year-old Davutoglu as a close and loyal ally of Erdogan.  He stood firmly by the prime minister during last December’s police investigations into high level government graft, which implicated Erdogan’s family.

Davutoglu joined the AK Party in 2003 as Erdogan’s chief foreign policy adviser.  He comes from an academic background and speaks three languages.  In 2009, he became foreign minister and is widely credited with being behind Turkey's adoption of a more Middle East-oriented foreign policy, what has been dubbed by some as “neo-Ottomanism.”

Analysts say part of that policy is backing the Muslim Brotherhood across the region, and strongly supporting Syrian rebels fighting the Damascus regime.  The policy has proven controversial, with Turkey having broken or strained diplomatic relations with all of its southern neighbors.

Soli Ozel, political columnist of the Turkish newspaper Haberturk, says Davutoglu has a low standing within the party, but that suits Erdogan’s ambitions as president.

"I suspect Davutoglu will be a weak prime minister because although he has invested heavily [in] domestic politics lately, he is still not a very well-rooted domestic politician.  This is precisely what Erdogan wants, the president-elect.  He wants a prime minister who cannot really challenge him, and in Davutoglu he has that person," said Ozel.

Erdogan has declared he will take a far more active political role as president than usual.  Under Turkey's constitution, the presidency is a broadly ceremonial position with parliament having the real power.

Davutoglu is expected to be elected head of the ruling AK Party at a party congress scheduled for next week.  He will then take over the prime minister’s office after Erdogan ascends to the presidency on August 28.  


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Comment Sorting
by: turk 1000
August 21, 2014 3:12 PM
Corruption at it's best. The Ak party wants to go backwards in time, while screwing the people of Turkiye in the process. So afraid of a coup, Erdogan put all high ranking generals in jail, with out any charges. Can you say, NAZI???

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2014 2:59 PM
Anything born of a snake grows laterally. The new prime minister appointed by the new president who is more or less a terror is old wine in new wineskin. Ahmet Davutoglu cannot but be what Erdogan was. But he will find himself in trouble when the president, overbearing as he ever was, will try to overshadow him in the office, by allowing the office of the president overlap that of the PM. Certainly that is where the trouble will start from, unless Ahmet Davutoglu agrees to be just a stooge. However, it is expected that Davutoglu will use his wealth of exposure to correct some of the mistakes of his president and reposition the country, Turkey, to more friendliness than the enmity Recep Tayyip Erdogan so courted with all his energy in office. Time will tell if the swap of office will also translate to swap of responsibilities, and if Davutoglu will bring the desired changes to improve diplomacy that Erdogan threw to the birds in his regime of hate and mudslinging.

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