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Turkey’s Prime Minister Says He Will Resign

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to the media at the headquarters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, in Ankara, Turkey, May 5, 2016. He has said someone else should lead the AKP.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Says He Will Step Down
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Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has announced he will not seek re-election as the head of the ruling party.

Davutoglu spoke Thursday after a meeting of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Ankara. He told reporters that a change in the position of chairman was needed for the good of the party. The ruling party leader also serves as the prime minister.

The move means that a new party leader will be chosen at the AKP party congress on May 22.

Davutoglu said, “I have no sense of failure or regrets in taking this decision.”

The prime minster said that his resignation was not “his choice but a necessity.” He noted that there were no “hard feelings.”

The prime minister suggested he will remain as a ruling party legislator. He also pledged loyalty to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan said that it was the prime minister’s own decision and he wished him well.

The resignation is not effective immediately. The AKP will hold an emergency congress on May 22 to elect a new party leader who would take the place of Davutoglu.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attend a funeral earlier this year.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attend a funeral earlier this year.

President Erdogan and Prime Minster Davutoglu met late Wednesday but reportedly failed to smooth over their disagreements. Davutoglu has not been a strong supporter of some of Erdogan's policies. These include potential changes to the constitution to make the largely ceremonial presidency into a powerful position.

Relations between the president and prime minister have been tense. Turkish media had reported that Davutoglu was planning to visit the United States on May 2 to meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

Some reports say this angered Erdogan and the visit was canceled.

The disagreement between the two politicians became especially strong last week. That is when the AKP’s 50-member executive committee stripped Davutoglu of his power to appoint local and provincial party leaders.

The problems between the two leaders come as Turkey deals with the influx of refugees from Syria’s conflict. In addition, the country is combatting violence linked to Islamic State and Kurdish militants. It is also seeking to become a member of the European Union.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Isabela Cocoli reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.


Words in This Story

pledge –v. a serious promise or agreement

smooth over –v. to make problems seem less serious

potential –adj. capable of becoming real

stripped –adj. having had something removed or taken away

influx –n. the movement of a large number of people