Turkey's AKP taps Binali Yildirim for PM's post

Transport minister to be ruling party's candidate in move expected to tighten President Erdogan's grip on government.

    Turkey's AKP taps Binali Yildirim for PM's post
    The AKP is holding the special congress to elect a new leader [Reuters]

    Binali Yildirim, Turkey's transport minister, has emerged as the country's new prime minister after the ruling party formally tapped him as its candidate to lead the party.

    Yildirim, a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for about two decades, will be the sole candidate for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leadership at a special party congress on Sunday, according to Omer Celik, AKP spokesperson.

    The AKP is holding the special congress to elect a new leader after Ahmet Davutoglu announced he was stepping down as head of the party following an increasingly public rift with Erdogan.

    Inside Story - What's behind Ahmet Davutoglu's resignation?

    Yildirim's appointment will also reinforce Erdogan's hold on government as he seeks to extend his powers.

    Yildrim said his nomination was the result of consultation among nearly 800 important AKP members.

    "We will make every effort by working in full harmony, primarily with our founding chairman and leader, and then our colleagues within all ranks of our party to fulfill the targets of our great Turkey," Yildirim said.

    Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from the Turkish capital Ankara, said that while Erdogan was no longer the leader of the AKP after becoming the president, he was still its founder and the spiritual leader.

    "In terms of finding a leader who would not pose some sort of threat to the popularity or the authority of Erdogan, Yildirim fits the bill perfectly," he said.

    Yildirim's journey

    Yildirim served as the director general of the Istanbul Ferries Company (IDO) from 1994 to 2000 while Erdogan was Istanbul's mayor.

    In August 2001, Yildirim entered politics and became a co-founder of the AKP alongside Erdogan.

    After becoming an MP a year later, he was named as the transport minister before quitting in 2014 because of his candidacy for the Izmir mayorship in the local elections.

    He lost that race to the opposition candidate, Aziz Kocaoglu, and was not listed in the AKP's MP candidate list for the June 2015 general election because of the party’s three-term limit.

    During this period he served as an adviser to Erdogan, before entering parliament again and returning to his role as the transport minister that year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months