Er­do­gan asks Tur­key PM to form new gov­ern­ment

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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