Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Aug. 21 after announcing Davutoglu as new chairman of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and new Turkish prime minister in Ankara. (Adem Altan / AFP)
ANKARA, TURKEY — Turkey’s next prime minister will be Ahmet Davutoglu, the current Foreign Minister, according to an Aug. 21 announcement by the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Davutoglu will also become the party’s chairman.
The current premier and party chair, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be inaugurated as Turkey’s president on Aug. 28. Erdogan, who was elected president on Aug. 10, convened the party’s 20-member Central Executive Board (MYK) on Aug. 21 to pick a new leader for the party and the country. Party officials said Davutoglu was Erdogan’s choice; he will formally step into the job at the party congress on Aug. 27.
An academic-turned-diplomat, Davutoglu first joined Erdogan’s government as a foreign policy advisor to the prime minister. His signature theme, “zero problems with neighbors,” has been mocked as “zero neighbors” after Turkey was left with a legacy of failure in the Middle East and beyond. Since Davutoglu became foreign minister in 2009, Turkish foreign policy has been criticized for shifting its main strategic priorities toward Russia and China, and away from the West and the NATO military alliance.
The powers granted by the Turkish constitution to the president are largely symbolic, but Erdogan made it clear that he would introduce a de facto executive presidential system. Analysts compared the situation to Russia’s, in which prime minister Vladimir Putin traded jobs with president Dmitry Medvedev yet retained his grip on governmental power.
Davutoglu is expected to name his cabinet members at the end of the month. Most political analysts agree that Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz would maintain his seat.