Ahmed Davutoglu named as new Turkish Prime Minister

image source, Reuters

Turkey's ruling party has nominated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to replace Recep Tayyip Erdogan as prime minister.

A close ally of Mr Erdogan, Mr Davutoglu has held the job of foreign minister since 2009.

Mr Davutoglu will officially take office after his election as the AKP's new leader is confirmed next week.

On 10 August, the long-serving Mr Erdogan won the country's first direct presidential election.

The nomination of Mr Davutoglu, 55, is seen as a move to ensure that the man who has dominated Turkish political life for more than a decade can maintain a tight grip over the government.

Presidents were previously voted in by parliament but Mr Erdogan, whose party required him to step down after three terms as PM, decided to make it an elected post.

Mr Erdogan has indicated he intends to make use of the largely ceremonial presidency's rarely used powers such as calling and presiding over cabinet meetings.

Prior to this month's presidential election, he had pledged to push for a new constitution if he was elected to the post,

Who is Turkey's prime minister-elect?

  • Ahmet Davutoglu was born in the conservative Anatolian town of Konya in 1959.
  • A father of four, he is married to a medical doctor.
  • Prior to his appointment as foreign minister in 2009, he was an adviser to Prime Minister Erdogan but largely unknown to the Turkish public.
  • An academic by profession, his book Strategic Depth outlines his vision for Turkey's foreign policy and emphasises the country's role as an energy corridor between East and West.

Same vision

Mr Erdogan succeeds the outgoing Abdullah Gul, with whom he co-found the Islamist-rooted AK Party.

But relations between the pair had recently become strained, with Mr Gul taking a more moderate stance than the premier, who critics had accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian on domestic issues.

Mr Davutoglu, on the other hand, is widely regarded as someone who shares the same policy vision as Mr Erdogan.

While he refrained from getting involved on domestic affairs as foreign minister, Mr Davutoglu defended his government's record in dealing with last year's anti-government Gezi Park protests.

An academic who enjoyed an elite Western-style education, Mr Davutoglu is fluent in several languages.

Over the last five years, he emerged as the chief architect and proponent of Turkey's assertive foreign policy.

He was initially credited with the success of his "zero problems with neighbours" policy, but in the last couple of years relations with Egypt, Syria, Israel, Iraq and Iran have taken a turn for the worse.

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