Despite being the nominal head of the government, Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, operated largely in the shadow of his president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since taking over in 2014. Davutoglu’s sudden resignation as the head of the Justice and Development Party — AKP — and as prime minister in May has thrown open the country’s politics and, observers say, concentrated Erdoğan’s power.
A long-time ally of the president, Davutoglu was credited with stabilising the economy by defending more traditional and disciplined policies, in counter to more expansionary policies espoused by Erdoğan’s advisors. However, the two reportedly disagreed on whether or not to negotiate with Kurdish independence fighters, and over just how independent the prime minister’s office should be. AKP’s executive council voted to diminish Davutoglu’s powers, leaving him politically isolated and forcing his hand.
The implications for Turkey could be manifold. Domestically, more autocratic, less conciliatory politics could heighten existing tensions between secular, liberal and religious, conservative factions; while hopes for a peaceful resolution to internal conflicts, already slim, may dwindle. Without Davutoglu’s more diplomatic approach in Europe, Turkey may also struggle to make its case for more aid and integration.
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