Erdogan names close confidante as PM candidate

After sacking Davutoglu for opposing his plans to seriously boost his own powers, Erdogan gives the nod to a more pliant senior aide.

Ari Yashar,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given the nod to his close confidante Binali Yildirim to become the new chair of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), as well as its candidate to become the next Turkish Prime Minister.

The appointment of Yildirim, who serves as Transportation and Communications Minister, came on Thursday, and he is likely to be the only AKP candidate running for the post of Prime Minister according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Erdogan tapped Yildirim for the post after sacking former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose official resignation is to be given at a May 22 party congress when the new party leader will be elected.

The two disagreed sharply on the Islamist-leaning Erdogan's drive to tighten his grip on power by changing the constitution in favor of a presidential system, which some warn would pave his way to a dictatorship.

In his comments accepting the appointment on Thursday, Yildirim indicated that he would be more willing to bend to Erdogan's will.

"We will work in full harmony primarily with our founder chairman and leader (Erdogan) and all of our friends," he said.

As noted, Yildirim is considered to be one of Erdogan's closest aides, and likely will be less wont to oppose the President's efforts to boost his own powers.