ISTANBUL: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has strongly backed the naming of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as the new premier and party leader to replace president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a pro-government daily said yesterday.
The executive committee of the AKP is due to meet on Thursday to formally agree the successor to Erdogan, who by law must give up both his current posts as premier and party leader when he becomes president on August 28.
But the Yeni Safak daily, which has close contacts with the AKP, said Erdogan had already put the issue to an informal vote at a closed-door meeting with top party members this week. After giving a speech, Erdogan asked the party members to put forward their nominees for party leader and prime minister in an anonymous poll.
The results revealed overwhelming support for Davutoglu — foreign minister since 2009 — to take over the posts of premier and party leader. Davutoglu is a loyal Erdogan ally who has developed a more assertive Turkish foreign policy in recent years that has been criticised by opponents as being over ambitious and even neo-Ottoman.
Others who received limited support included former transport minister Binali Yildirim and Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu, Yeni Safak added.