Turkey’s ruling party has picked Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister, to replace president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its new chairman and prime minister.
Erdogan, the outgoing prime minister, announced Davutoglu’s nomination on Thursday following a meeting of the senior leaders of his ruling Justice and Development Party, known in Turkey as the AKP.
“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 told supporters of his party, the AFP news agency reported.
Davutoglu, 55, was long reported to be Erdogan’s top choice to replace him.
Erdogan has indicated he intends to keep his grip on government by making use of the largely ceremonial presidency’s seldom-used powers such as calling and presiding over cabinet meetings, the AP news agency reported.
Davutoglu has steered Turkey’s foreign policy since 2009 and as an adviser to Erdogan before that.
‘Big shoes to fill’
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Istanbul, said though Erdogan and Davutoglu shared the same political ideology, the newly appointed prime minister had big shoes to fill.
“[Erdogan] enjoys adulation from his legions of supporters,” he said. “Davutoglu is a completely different political animal, he doesn’t enjoy that political base, so he has to start finding his own political feet domestically.”
Davutoglu’s nomination will be rubber-stamped by an extraordinary congress of the AK Party on August 27 and he will take office a day later.
Erdogan was elected president on August 10 with 52 percent of the vote.