Turkish PM announces stepping aside

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Ankara, May 5 (IANS) Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared on Thursday that he will not seek mandate at an extraordinary congress on May 22 when Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will choose a new party leader and prime minister.

“I have no sense of failure or regrets in taking this decision… The change of chairs is more proper. I don’t want to run as candidate at the congress,” Xinhua new agency quoted Davutoglu as saying in a press conference after holding an extraordinary Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting.

Davutoglu said he would not consider being a candidate unless there is a consensus, adding that his relationship of loyalty with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would continue.

“Congratulations. It is the prime minister’s own decision,” Erdogan told reporters in his first comment about Davutoglu’s decision.

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The decision to replace the prime minister came after a meeting of Davutoglu and President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday after weeks of tension between the two statesmen.

“If necessary, I would turn down any position that many may think a mortal could not leave,” Davutoglu told lawmakers on Tuesday, triggering speculation that he was ready to leave his position due to disagreement with Erdogan, the founding leader of the AKP.

The AKP’s central decision and executive board’s decision come after Davutoglu, who took over the party chairmanship after Erdogan was elected as president in 2014, has recently reshuffled around 15 provincial and district party heads.

Erdogan has reportedly been seeking an executive presidency, which did not have Davutoglu’s full support. Under the current parliamentary system, the presidency is mostly a symbolic institution.

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Observers say Davutoglu’s upcoming ouster is likely to pave the way for a new prime minister who will back Erdogan’s plan of changing the constitution and bringing an executive presidency.



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