ANKARA: Turkey’s ruling party yesterday chose Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to be its new leader and prime minister, to replace Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he takes the presidency next week.
Erdogan — who has dominated Turkey’s political scene for 11 years as prime minister — announced the decision after an executive committee meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to decide on his successor.
The press has been abuzz for days with reports that Davutoglu was favoured for promotion to become prime minister under Erdogan’s presidency, which begins on August 28.
Davutoglu’s nomination will be rubber-stamped by an extraordinary congress of the AKP on August 27 and he will take office a day later.
“The AKP’s candidate for the party leadership on August 27 is foreign minister and member of parliament for Konya, Ahmet Davutoglu,” Erdogan said to cheers from the party elite.
“I believe our candidate for party leadership and prime minister will realise the ideal of a new Turkey and the AKP’s targets for 2023” when modern Turkey celebrates its 100th anniversary, Erdogan said.
Davutoglu has been a loyal servant to Erdogan as an advisor before being promoted to the job of foreign minister in 2009.
He enjoyed an elite Western-style education and is fluent in several languages but emerged as the chief architect and ideologue of Turkey’s assertive foreign policy under Erdogan.
Criticised as neo-Ottoman or even pan-Islamic by some academics, the core of Davutoglu’s policy has been to make Turkey a world power projecting its influence across the region.