Turkey’s PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit over ‘Erdogan rift’

Ahmet Davutoglu to leave post after what is reported as a falling out with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey''s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Ahmet Davutoglu is expected to resign on Thursday amid reports of mounting tensions between the premier and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [Reuters]

Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoglu has said he will not seek a new term as prime minister and leader of the ruling AK Party after last-ditch talks aimed at easing tensions between him and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Davutoglu held a news conference on Thursday after a gathering of the party’s central executive committee.

“I came to the conclusion [a change in] leader of the party and the Prime Ministerial position would serve a better purpose,” he said. “This must be carried out in a peaceful way, keeping with the integrity of the party.”

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After a 90-minute crisis meeting on Wednesday that local media described as critical for Davutoglu’s future, domestic news organisations CNN-Turk and NTV reported that an extraordinary congress would likely signal his exit.

The congress will be held on May 22.

Andrew Finkel, an author and journalist based in Turkey, told Al Jazeera that Erdogan had demanded Davutoglu’s resignation following yesterday’s meeting.

“Davutoglu will now have to comply with that demand and stand down at the congress … and there will be a new leader of the AKP.”

According to AKP convention, the posts of party boss and head of government always go to the same person.

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Davutoglu had carved out his own strong profile, but tension had reportedly been growing between the men for months.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Ankara, said differences had emerged on both domestic and foreign policy issues, despite both men trying to play it down.

“Over the last 10 days, when the prime minister went to Doha to open a Turkish military base, the AK Party clipped his wings in one sense and took away his powers to appoint local and provincial party leaders. That didn’t go down very well,” she said.

“Then mysteriously, two days later, a blog appeared on the internet ‘The Pelican Brief’ by an Erdogan loyalist taking down Davutoglu step by step on how he didn’t perform well enough as prime minister.”

Potential successors to Davutoglu include Transport Minister Binali Yildirim and the youthful Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, 38, who is married to the president’s eldest daughter, Esra.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies