The next PM
Since officials at the ruling AK Party considered Sunday’s vote a simple formality, they have been working on future government scenarios post-Erdogan. The key question in that debate is the next prime minister once Erdogan ascends to the presidential palace on top of Cankaya Hill in Ankara.
Political observers in Ankara seem to be dropping the name of incumbent President Abdullah Gul following a three-month debate, something that made it clear that Erdogan does not want a strong prime minister to challenge the president’s authority, but a Cabinet-coordinating prime minister which has not been seen in the Turkish system so far. Therefore, the next president is likely to be someone who is happy to accept that role.
There are a number of candidates for that from within the AKP whose names are being tipped behind the scenes:
Deputy Prime Minister Arinc is one of the three big guns of the party together with Erdogan and Gul. He would be willing to keep the post until the general elections in 2015 as a veteran of Islamic-conservative politics for nearly 40 years. Erdogan, however, may think that what he needs is a name more loyal to him, rather than the common cause.
Davutoglu, as Erdogan’s risk-taking foreign policy, is frequently regarded within the party as the “hoca,” the master teacher. Speaking a number of languages and with theoretical depth, especially on the Islamic world, Davutoglu has proven his capability to address masses in political rallies, besides lecturing in halls. Yet Erdogan might need Davutoglu (also with a strong personal political agenda) as the foreign policy chief for some time more.
The former communications minister is the favourite of business circles who are sure that he is 100-percent loyal to Erdogan himself with no personal political ambitions; that means he could be a good bridge between the business world and the new president. Erdogan, on the other hand, might bring Yildirim to Cankaya Palace as a chief adviser or a secretary-general in order to act as actual prime minister there.