Erdogan asks Turkey PM to form new government
ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday asked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a new government, two weeks after an election in which the ruling party regained the overall majority it had lost five months ago. Erdogan formally tasked Justice and Development Party (AKP) chief Davutoglu with forming the government in talks at the presidential palace in Ankara, the presidency said in a short statement on its website. The AKP’s resounding victory in a November 1 general election gave the party a renewed mandate to govern without any coalition partners.
Davutoglu is expected to present a list of ministers for Erdogan’s approval either today or tomorrow, with the new cabinet likely to be composed mainly of Erdogan loyalists. Earlier yesterday, lawmakers were sworn into office as parliament convened for the first time since the election. Turkey’s oldest lawmaker, 77-year-old opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member Deniz Baykal, presided over the session.
With Erdogan looking on, Baykal called for reconciliation in the majority Muslim country, which has been plagued by violence over the past few months, leaving many sections of society -minority Kurds, Islamists, secular Turks - at odds. Wearing the traditional tailcoat and white bowtie of the Turkish speaker, he also invited the lawmakers to swear “loyalty to the secular and democratic Turkish republic.”
Tensions rose when pro-Kurdish MP Leyla Zana began her oath with “Biji Asiti”, or “Long live peace” in Kurdish. The phrase triggered a storm that recalled her memorable swearing-in 24 years ago when she also spoke the language that was then still taboo in public. Zana, an iconic activist who spent 10 years in jail for her links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), also changed the wording of “Turkish people” in the parliamentary oath to the “people of Turkey”. Baykal asked Zana to recite her oath again, but she declined to do so, walking out in protest. —AFP