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Turkish president Gul tips FM Davutoglu
to be next prime minister
Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:20pm EDT
By Orhan Coskun
ANKARA (Reuters) - Outgoing Turkish president Abdullah Gul said on
Tuesday that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was likely to take over as
chairman of the ruling AK Party, and thus become the next prime minister.
Turkey's current prime minister and AKP chairman Tayyip Erdogan earlier
this month tightened his grip on political power in the NATO member nation
when he won the country's first direct presidential elections with more than
51 percent of the vote.
"As far as I see, Davutoglu will take over the post. We will support him," Gul
said, answering journalists' questions during a farewell reception in the
capital Ankara.
Erdogan will step down as leader of the AK Party when he is inaugurated as
head of state on Aug. 28, as required by the constitution; but has made clear
that he wants the party he co-founded with Gul more than a decade ago to
remain loyal and unified.
Speculation has been growing that Davutoglu, a close Erdogan ally, was
being groomed as his replacement. On Tuesday he was dispatched to thank
AKP voters for supporting Erdogan's successful presidential bid, seen by
many as a sign of his impending promotion.
Some within the ruling party have pushed for Gul, a more conciliatory figure
than Erdogan, to take up the premiership. But there have been signs in
recent months that the relationship between the two men has cooled, and
Davutoglu is seen as a key Erdogan loyalist, sharing many foreign and
domestic policy aims.
A formal decision on Erdogan's replacement is expected following an AK
Party Congress, due on August 27.
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun, writing by Jonny Hogg; editing by Ralph
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