New Turkish PM Again Vows to Bring In Presidential System

bbbTurkey’s incoming prime minister said his new government’s top priority would be a new constitution to create an executive presidency, a move that would give President Tayyip Erdogan the broad powers he has long sought.

Binali Yildirim also told a special congress of the ruling AK Party on Sunday that he would continue the fight against Islamic State and Kurdish militants at home and in Syria, saying the change in leadership would not affect the campaign.

“The problems of this nation and the love of this nation are the president’s responsibility,” he said. “The new constitution will be for an executive presidential system.”

Yildirim, the current transport minister and a close ally of Erdogan for two decades, was the sole candidate for party head, and therefore the next premier.

He will replace Ahmet Davutoğlu who announced that he would step down this month following weeks of public tension with Erdğan. The official vote is due later in the day, and Yildirim is expected to speak again once he is elected as party head. A co-founder with Erdoğan of the AKP, Yildirim has been the driving force behind major infrastructure projects in Turkey which were one of the pillars of the party’s electoral successes during its first decade in power. He has been seen as someone who will help pursue two of Erdoğan’s biggest priorities – an executive presidency and the fight against militants of  (PKK) in the largely Kurdish southeast.

His opponents, including some sceptics within the AKP, say he is merely furthering his own ambition. Yildirim was elected as a deputy for Istanbul in November 2002 when the AKP won its first election. He was appointed transport, maritime and communications minister, a post which he then almost continuously held in successive governments. His ties to Erdoğan date back to the 1990s when Yildirim,educated in shipbuilding and marine sciences, was in charge of ahigh-speed ferry company in Istanbul, where Erdoğan was mayor.