05/06/2016, 21.45
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Political earthquake in Ankara. Chronicle of a foreseen divorce between Erdogan and Davutoglu

Whispers of a conflict between the "Rais" Erdogan and "Hoja" (professor) Davutoglu had been heard for some time. The prime minister does not approve of the presidential ambitions of his boss; the president does not like the Davutoglu’s pro-European attitudes. Erdogan strengthens alliance with military in anti-Kurdish and anti-religious key.

Ankara (AsiaNews) - On Thursday Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he will resign as head of the AKP (Party for Justice and progress, in power) party during its Congress May 22 next, and will not seek re-election.

The news has not aroused much amazement because there had been talk for some time in political circles of an open struggle between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the "Rais", and his Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, known as "Hoja" (the Professor), to whom the Turkish president had entrusted the presidency of "his" party in August of 2014.

The veneer of a perfect harmony between the two politicians, conceals a struggle for power made of suspicions, rivalries and betrayals, leaked at times in the Turkish press and immediately denied.

The crack in the ice emerged in February, when the Prime Minister, in his capacity as General Secretary of the AKP appointed Abdurrahman Dimez as a counselor for the section of Adiyaman. Instead Erdogan had wanted one of his loyalists.

Erdogan has not forgiven this "challenge" by Davutoglu.  Moreover, he has been long given to contradicting the Prime Minister, especially as regards his pro-European views. Two months later, on 29 April this year, during his official visit to Doha in Qatar, the Turkish prime minister Davutoglu, learned from the press that the appointment of the party's councilors would henceforth be taken place by the Executive Council of the AKP party and no longer directly and exclusively by the Secretary general.

Until 2002, the year of coming to power of the AKP, the appointment of the directors was the prerogative of the party president. And at the time, Amet Davutoglu became leader and a fervent defender of this prerogative, allowing Erdogan to "model the party" to use the expression of a Turkish journalist, Sami Kilic, removing anyone who could challenge then Secretary Erdogan, or prevent him from rising higher and higher.

Slowly, the Erdogan - Davutoglu couple managed to alienate all the faithful of Necmettin Erbacan and even dauphins of Fethullah Gulen, two charismatic leaders who had laid the foundations of the Turkish religious political party of which Erdogan was able to enjoy all the fruits.

On returning from Doha, a worried Davutoglu  consulted AKP party spokesman Ömer Celik, who reassured him by denying any "crisis".

The denial of "any crisis" only aroused more suspicion about the existence of irreconcilable divisions between the two columns of the Party, the President and his Premier.

Many analysts believe the successes recorded so far by Davutoglu (last November he led the AKP to attract 49% of the votes), together with the growing sympathy of the European chancelleries towards him, while increasing dissent of the same against Erdogan, have bothered the president who began no longer to see him as an ally but as a rival.

This gave rise to a series of maneuvers designed to prevent the Premier from operating both in government and in the management of the Party: Erdogan buried the law on transparency, commissioned by Davutoglu; the candidacy for the post of head of the MIT (Turkish Secret Service) at the personal request of Davutoglu was rejected by Erdogan, as well as the assignment of a ministry to Ali Baban - for 12 years Minister of the economy - Davutoglu had convinced to run in the 2015 elections, to end with negotiations on the "visa" for Turks to travel to the European Union and the issue of negotiations with the PKK (the Kurdish militant party).

The final blow came through the pro-Erdogan press. Nasuhi Güngör, vice-director of the TRT state television network, wrote an editorial in the daily Star: "We can no longer go along with Davutoglu". It 'also true that after that statement, Güngör was suspended for "having publically declared what is rumored in the" corridors, as they say in Ankara.

Now the name of the future prime minister is rumored, Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport, but as if by magic, in the press favorable to Davutoglu, a picture of the Binali Yildirim’s son appears, that shows him playing roulette in a casino Singapore ...

Pro Erdogan press starts talking about Western conspiracies that aim to overthrow Erdogan in favor of Davutoglu. So for example, on the pages of the newspaper Hürriyet, Abdülkadir Selvi headlines: "The summer will be hot", and speaks of an irreconcilable "separation".

After the "Turkish Spring" of Takhsim square, allegations of corruption against Erdogan's family in 2013, the demands of the Kurds, there has been a rapprochement between the army and the AKP, which materialized with the acquittal of the 236 defendants in the "Ergenekon" case already convicted in first instance to penalties from 6 to 20 years in prison.

This once again underpins the "flaws of the Turkish judiciary", as described by the journalist Demir Erme. The judiciary itself has increased the number of suspects, adding all journalists or writers unfavorable to Erdogan's policy, to their list.

The Turkish President - who has turned against the Kurds and the Fethullah Gülen Movement - thus finds his "natural" allies in the anti-Kurdish and anti-religious army.

Yesterday, Davutoglu’s announcement that he will not run for President is seen by the Arab daily Al Hayat as a consequence "of criticism directed against him by the entourage of the President of the Republic." According to the newspaper "Davutoglu has violated the two conditions imposed on him in exchange for the post of Prime Minister, namely: the adoption of the Presidential Regime [which Erdogan is aiming for] and interruption of any cooperation with the Western world, which could unseat Erdogan. "

Davutoglu is also accused - according to Al Hayat- of being the architect of Turkey’s failure in Syria and fostering Fethullah Gülen's followers. " The President’s entourage did not like Davutoglu’s request to meet with US President Obama a month after the summit took place between the two Presidents.

The Turkish Islamic Party is now split into four parts: one in favor of Erdogan; another for former President Gul; the third, albeit tiny, to Prime Minister Davutoglu; the fourth to the preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States.

The removal of the Premier could lead to early elections the results of which, this time, would not undisputed. (PB)

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