The author is a Distinguished Fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation and is former secretary, ministry of external affairs
In the days of the Ottoman empire, the sultan did not bat an eyelid while removing the grand vizier, equivalent of a prime minister today. If the sultan was in a foul mood, he also ordered that his head be lopped off. Ahmet Davutoglu, the former prime minister, may have lost his job but will not lose his head. He has been forced to resign by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after 20 months in office. Davutoglu’s departure underscores Erdogan’s dominance over his Justice and Development Party (AKP), and his tightening grip on power. It was not so much a tussle for power but Erdogan’s inability to tolerate dissent and, perhaps, a potential political challenge to his leadership that led to the forced resignation. Davutoglu’s sacking paved the way for a new Turkish prime minister, a loyal politician who will not question but faithfully push the agenda set by Erdogan. Traditionally, Turkish presidents have been elected by the parliament, but in 2014, Erdogan was elected as president in a direct vote. Since then, the tussle for power between the president and the prime minister has taken many forms and simmered, till the sacking of Davutoglu.
The transport, maritime affairs and communications minister, Binali Yildirim, has been nominated as the new prime minister by the ruling AKP by electing him the party chairman in an extraordinary session, amidst much speculation that Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, currently the energy minister who got embroiled in the controversial trade in oil with the Islamic State, the justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, and the deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, were also possible candidates. Finally, Yildirim emerged as the sol