1st visit of President Erdoğan will be to North Cyprus

Prime Minister and President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told reporters that the name of the new prime minister will be announced on 21st August when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) convenes its Central Executive Board (MYK), Turkish daily ‘Zaman’ reports.

“We will convene the MYK next Thursday [Aug. 21]. We will discuss the issue [of the new prime minister] during the MYK meeting. Then, we will announce the name our party agrees on,” Erdoğan said when asked about the AK Party’s ongoing efforts to select a new prime minister, who will also lead the ruling party. Erdoğan also said that the prime minister may begin his or her term on 29th August, one day after Erdoğan leaves the post.

Erdoğan was elected the new president of Turkey on 10th August and will be inaugurated on 28th August.

“As the new president, I will make my first official visits to Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, he added.

Erdoğan’s current position remains controversial, as he is still serving as the prime minister and AK Party leader after having been elected president. According to legal experts, this openly violates Article 101 of the Constitution, which stipulates that once a person has been elected president, his or her ties to their party and their membership in Parliament must end.

Ankara Bar Association Chairwoman Sema Aksoy said on Friday that Erdoğan should have cut his ties with the Prime Ministry and the AK Party after being elected president. Not having done so, Erdoğan is violating the Constitution, Aksoy noted.

The expected departure of Erdoğan departure from the posts of prime minister and AK Party chairman creates a difficult task for the ruling party.

Erdoğan is continuing his consultations to find the most suitable person for the posts. He wants to appoint a low-profile prime minister to form a government loyal to him before moving to the Çankaya presidential palace in order to maintain his patronage over the AK Party and government.

Senior AK Party officials say Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has strong support within the party bureaucracy, has been Erdoğan’s right-hand man internationally, and is the favourite to succeed him, although former Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım is also trying to position himself for the job.

Whoever replaces Erdoğan as prime minister will hold the position until next year’s general election.

Uncertainty still surrounds outgoing President Abdullah Gül, who announced his return to politics and the AK Party earlier this week. Gül is one of the founders of the AK Party. He said on 11th August that he plans to return to “his party” when he leaves the presidency on 28th August.

It is rumoured that Erdoğan does not want Gül to return to the AK Party as he fears that he may take control. This is why, according to rumours, Erdoğan wants to pick the new prime minister and form the next government before Gül leaves the presidency.

Although formerly very close, Gül and Erdoğan neither men have seen eye to eye in recent years, with Gül sometimes questioning the government’s actions.

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