Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
does not want it to be debated within the party until the end of the presidential elections, the signs in his own statements are increasing talk about “the prime ministerial candidate in Erdoğan's mind” in the corridors of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The clues he gave on his return from Hatay, and in the interview broadcast on a TV channel led to comments that the new address in the party will be Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The assessment made by the prime minister on his return from Hatay includes technical clues as to who he wants to replace him if he were to go to the presidential palace at Çankaya.
1) The party leader will be a parliamentarian. If Erdoğan is elected as president on Aug. 10, or Aug. 24, the first thing he needs to do according to the Constitution will be to legally cut his ties to the AKP.
In this case, the AKP will elect its leader as its first order of protocol. The first clue made available by Erdoğan is the leader of the party will be at the same time the prime minister. In other words, the prospective leader of the AKP will be someone from the AKP’s parliamentarians. In this case, prominent individuals such as Abdullah Gül and Numan Kurtulmuş drop from the list.
The second clue reflected in Erdoğan’s statements points that the person that will carry the title “leader of the AKP” and “prime minister” and will at the same time take the party to the general elections that will be held in June 2015. This shows that Erdoğan’s successor will be not only a parliamentarian, but at the same time also a parliamentarian that has no problem facing the three-terms-policy (the practice in the AKP is that the same person can only be elected three times consecutively to Parliament).
The possibility for a party leader that cannot be a candidate in 2015 due to the three years term to take the party to elections is found rather illogical in the party ranks.
In this case, strong potentials like Bülent Arınç, Binali Yıldırım, Beşir Atalay, Ali Babacan, Bekir Bozdağ and Mehmet Ali Şahin also drop from the list.
When you take the two clues given by Erdoğan into consideration, approximately 240 parliamentarians enter the list of “possible successors.”
In this case, political conditions are added to the technical requirements.
A party official enumerated the political clues as such:
1)The person should be accepted in the party,
2)The person should be welcome by the people and make the AKP come first in the elections in 2015 and make the party come to government alone.
3) Should Erdoğan become president, the person should work in harmony with him.
In view of the political conditions, the 240 candidates easily drop down to five. It is commented within the party that Davutoğlu is the person that most meets the technical and political requirements.
Yet, it appears highly difficult for the people who have the possibility of being excluded due to the three-term rule to accept Davutoğlu.
According to the AKP supporters of Davutoğlu’s rivals, it is equally difficult for Erdoğan to hand over the party to Davutoğlu with the current state of affairs in Turkey’s foreign policy.
While potentials such as Yalçın Akdoğan, Emrullah İşler, Mehmet Müezzinoğlu are voiced, it is also underlined that it is difficult for these names to fulfill the political requirements.
The necessary option
Another result that comes out from the messages, technical and political conditions voiced by presidential candidate Erdoğan is on the direction that Abdullah Gül does not have much place in the future of the party.
Yet despite all of Erdoğan’s efforts and contributions, if the new party administrations and the new government that will govern Turkey until the 2015 elections show failure, all of these conditions and calculations can change. In this case, with pressure from those that will suffer from the three-year-rule Gül can be called to head the party and he might be asked to lead the party in 2015.