Prof Davutoglu to succeed Erdogan

TURKEY - In Brief 21 Aug 2014 by Atilla Yesilada

As I predicted, AKP’s top decision-making body convened to select current Foreign Affairs Minister (FAM) Prod Davutoglu as the candidate to replace outgoing Erdogan. Given Erdogan’s conflicting objectives and the limits enforced by the three-term rule, he is probably the best. Nevertheless, he is a controversial figure in global diplomacy circles with very untested management and campaign skills. He is certain to be elected as chairman of AKP and the candidate for the post of PM on 27 August extraordinary convention. The announcement marks the long and turbulent period of succession and transition to post-Erdogan era in AKP, with the eyes turning to Babacan’s future and Gul’s intentions next.

In his introduction speech Erdogan specifically bequeathed three missions to Davutoglu:

· Keep fighting the Gulen Movement

· Advance the Peace Process with Kurds

· Preserve the three term rule.

His eyes wet with emotion and his oratory wooden, Davutoglu duly accepted the challenge, while his brief acceptance speech failed to contain any further clues to the policy platform under his management.

Given my forecast that in the next 9 months (left to general elections) or longer, the main challenges to Turkey would emanate from regional spill-overs, the choice of Davutoglu is appropriate, since he is familiar with all the files and “knows the ropes” in international platforms. While Erdogan and AKP broadly view him in a positive light, a more objective analysis suggests that Davutoglu’s neo-Ottoman romantics and his inability to process fact...

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