Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigns
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigns –
Photo – Armenian foreign minister Edouard Nalbandian (2nd Left) and Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu (2nd Right) shake hands while French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner (Center) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applaud during the signing ceremony of the protocols and statements between Armenia and Turkey, at the University of Zurich in Zurich, on October 10, 2009. Turkey and Armenia’s foreign ministers signed pacts to establish ties, in a first step to reconciliation after nearly a century of bitterness over their history. AFP PHOTO
The Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has announced his resignation in a dramatic turn of events that will boost the power of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Divisions between Davutoğlu and Erdoğan, rumoured for months, erupted into the open on Wednesday, with the two leaders holding crisis talks at the presidential palace.
On Thursday Davutoğlu said he would step down after an extraordinary party meeting to be held on 22 May.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development party’s (AKP) headquarters in Ankara, Davutoğlu listed his accomplishments while in office, underlining that he steered the country through turmoil and terrorist attacks with “an iron will”. He added that he would continue his work for the AKP as an MP and that there should not be any doubts over the stability of the government.
“A strong AKP government will continue to lead for the next four years, and there should not be any doubts concerning safety and stability,” Davutoğlu said.
He said his decision to resign was not a “choice, but a necessity” that was made after consultations with the president. He added that one reason for stepping down was a decision by the party’s executive to take away his authority to appoint provincial party leaders.
Despite clear tensions between himself and Erdoğan, he refrained from criticising the president in his speech.
“Erdoğan’s honour is my honour,” he said. “I will not accept any speculation concerning my relationship with President Erdoğan. We have always stood shoulder to shoulder.”
Davutoğlu became prime minister in August 2014 when Erdoğan moved from the premiership to the presidency. He was expected to play a backseat role as Erdoğan pushed ahead with plans to make the largely ceremonial role into an all-powerful executive position, yet Davutoğlu tried to act independently on a range of issues and had at best offered half-hearted support to plans for a stronger presidency.
The two also differed over the pre-trial imprisonment of academics and journalists, which Davutoğlu opposed, and over the possibility of the resumption of a peace process with the Kurdish rebels, which Erdoğan ruled out.
Davutoğlu also championed a deal with the EU to stem th