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Erdogan Ally Set to Replace Davutoglu as President Seeks to Extend Powers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Reuters

Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, formally tapped on Thursday Minister of Transport Binali Yildirim as its candidate to be the country’s next prime minister, a move that would give the president greater powers.

Yildirim is a founding member of the AKP, which was founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He will run unopposed for the party leadership at a special convention to be held Sunday in Ankara.

The shake-up comes after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stepped down earlier this month over an increasing public rift with Erdogan.

Analysts expect Davutoglu’s successor to be more in tune with Erdogan who is pushing for a constitutional overhaul that would concentrate greater powers in his hands, a move opponents say will bring growing authoritarianism.

AKP spokesman Omer Celik told a news conference after a meeting of the party’s executive board that Yildirim’s “candidacy for leadership has emerged as a result of a consultation period and through a large consensus.”

A new cabinet could be announced as early as Monday, AKP sources have told Reuters.

Yildirim pledged to continue the fight against the “terrorist menace” threatening the country.

“I will take this terror trouble off Turkey’s agenda,” he vowed addressing his party. He also thanked Davutoglu for his services.

The transition also coincides with growing tensions with the European Union over a controversial deal to reduce the flow of illegal migrants from Turkey to Greece, which Davutoglu helped broker.