Turkish Ruling Party Preparing to Replace PM Davutoğlu

 

Turkey’s ruling party is set to replace Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu at an extraordinary congress in the coming weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

President Erdoğan wants an executive presidency in Turkey to replace the current parliamentary system, a plan for which Ahmet DavutogluDavutoğlu has offered only lukewarm support. His departure is likely to pave the way for a successor more willing to back Erdoğan’s ambition of changing the constitution and strengthening the presidency, a move opponents say will herald growing authoritarianism.

“The president and prime minister reached agreement on the congress … I don’t think Davutoğlu will be a candidate again,” one of the officials said

The leader of the AKP, which has governed Turkey since 2002, also serves as prime minister. Davutoğlu’s likely departure looms as Turkey faces mounting security challenges, with a Kurdish insurgency in its southeast and the spillover of the war in Syria on its southern border.

The European Union is counting on Turkey to help stop migrants streaming into the continent under a landmark accord brokered by Davutoğlu, and Washington is drawing on NATO member Ankara’s support in fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The lira weakened more than 4 percent to 2.976 to the dollar, its weakest since the end of February, as investors balked at the prospect of more uncertainty.

 

The AKP official said the congress would be held as soon as May 21 and no later than June 6, the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and that Erdogan was adamant there should be no vacuum of power at the head of government.

Three sources close to the presidency said possible successors included government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ. Transport Minister Binali Yildirim and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, had also been touted as possible names, they said.

 

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