Crunch time in Turkish politics

TURKEY - In Brief 17 Aug 2014 by Atilla Yesilada

While Erdogan easily rode to the presidency on the back of a 51.8% majority, the task of transition and succession in the party is turning out to be more arduous. In this Brief, I’m updating my predictions for the new AKP chairman and key cabinet posts, while the Cosmic Dude barges in with his ill-defined and impolite views on geo-political risks and the possibility of “Turkish decoupling”. With respect to political stability and market performance, the brief period spanning between now and 1st week of September is indeed the crunch time that may re-make history.

Straw polls within the party indicate that Prof Davutoglu is favored by a majority of deputies and local chieftains. Yet, this is largely because by scheduling the extraordinary convention on 28 August, the party administration kept the door shut to retiring president Gul. Yet, this does not spell his banishment to the woods. He shall wait in the wings, for Erdogan or the new PM to commit errors, by which time a substantial minority could clamor for his return to the helm during a second grand convention. In other words, the turbulence in AKP may not be over with the formation of the new cabinet.

The news flow from Ankara is extremely erratic, while Babacan and Erdogan have kept silent on the topic, but I stick to my prediction that Babacan will be forced into early retirement, to be replaced with Mr. Numan Kurtulmus who has no experience in an economics jobs but a lot of non-orthodox ideas like abolishing CBT independence. To his credit he doesn’t single out CBT, he wants all independent regulatory agencies to be brought u...

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