Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has been announced as candidate to succeed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as both prime minister and chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), beginning a new era in Turkish politics, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ reports.
The AKP’s Central Executive Board (MYK), which was convened under Erdoğan’s leadership, decided to put forward Davutoğlu’s name for the chairmanship of the party, which will be elected during the AKP’s extraordinary congress in Ankara on 27th August.
The decision was announced by Erdoğan after a three-hour meeting at the party headquarters.
“Our nominee is our Foreign Minister, our Konya deputy, our brother Ahmet Davutoğlu,” Erdoğan told the crowd, which included government ministers and journalists, at the AKP headquarters in Ankara on 21st August.
Erdoğan said Davutoğlu was chosen as a result of “very delicate deliberations” and his “determination to fight the ‘parallel state’” was also a factor.
The term “parallel state” has been commonly used by critics to refer to the followers of Islamic scholar and the AKP’s ally-turned-nemesis Fethullah Gülen, who has been in voluntary exile in the United States for over a decade.
‘Hurriyet’ says that Ahmet Davutoğlu is a respected figure in the party and a well-known figure among the AKP’s grassroots, Davutoğlu is also believed to have the capacity to run the party’s new cadres and management without causing too much in-house tension. This is particularly the case as Erdoğan wants a permanent AKP chairman and prime minister who will work with him at least until 2019.