Turkey’s transition to an executive presidency is complete
And so endeth the Davutoğlu era. After 640 days in office(**), Turkey’s 37th prime minister will hand over the reins to a handpicked successor from within the governing AK Party.
Eleven months ago, this website argued the first of Turkey’s 2015 elections was Ahmet Davutoğlu’s moment – his chance to seize control of Turkey’s most successful centre-right party. He has failed.
Later on Thursday, Mr Davutoğlu will announce the terms of his own departure. It will happen the day after the night before, a night when he met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and was persuaded to hand over the premiership to as an as-yet unnamed successor
To casual observers, the manner of Ahmet Davutoğlu’s departure might seem a little sudden – coming on the very day the European Commission endorsed his prized visa-free Schengen deal for Turkish citizens.
But the cracks in AK have been simmering for years and Mr Davutoğlu is just the latest figure to try – and fail – to challenge Mr Erdoğan’s hegemony in the party.
There will likely be no contest on Saturday 28 May(**), the widely-rumoured date of the AK Party Extraordinary Congress that will elect the new leader.
Instead, the party will hold “consultations” with members and elders in a consensus candidate – who will then be endorsed with loud applause. No prizes for guessing who will actually make the selection.
Turkish politics changed fundamentally on Wednesday night: the transfer of executive power from the prime minister to the president is now complete.
**UPDATE 1PM ANKARA TIME
The AK Party meeting to elect a new leader has been confirmed for Sunday 22 May, which means he will have served 632 days in office.