ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed Binali Yildirim, a close ally for two decades and a co-founder of the ruling AK Party, as his new prime minister on Sunday, taking a big step towards the stronger presidential powers he has long sought.
In a speech to AKP delegates who earlier elected him party leader at a special congress, Yildirim, transport minister for most of the past decade and a half, left no doubt that he would prioritise the policies closest to Erdogan´s heart.
“Erdogan is a man of purpose, a man of the people, a tireless defender of the great Turkey,” he said. “We have said with pride, heads held high, we are comrades of Erdogan …Your passion is our passion, your cause our cause, your path our path.
“Yildirim´s main aim, he said, was a new constitution and the creation of an executive presidency, a change Erdogan says will bring stability to the NATO member state of 78 million, but which opponents fear will herald greater authoritarianism.
After winning the presidency in 2014 following more than a decade as prime minister, Erdogan was legally bound to renounce ties to the AKP and remain impartial.
But he has retained strong influence over both the party he founded and the government, frequently hosting cabinet meetings in his new palace. Yildirim, 60, said constitutional change was a necessity to legitimise the existing situation, tacit acknowledgment that Erdogan has extended the traditionally ceremonial role of the
“The most important mission we have today is to legalise the de facto situation, to bring to an end this confusion by changing the constitution,” he said.
“The new constitution will be on an executive presidential system. “Yildirim was the sole candidate for party leader at the AKP congress, called after Ahmet Davutoglu announced he was stepping down as prime minister following weeks of public tension with Erdogan.
Yildirim won all 1,405 of the valid votes. As if proof were needed of where power in the party lies, delegates remained standing through a message from Erdogan read
out at the start of the congress. Yildirim vowed that, under his leadership, the AKP´s way would be “Erdogan´s way”. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Erdogan was the party´s one leader.
As transport minister, Yildirim was a driving force behind major infrastructure projects which were one of the pillars of the AKP´s electoral successes during its first decade in power.
He has made clear he will pursue two of Erdogan´s biggest priorities – the executive presidency and the fight against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the largely Kurdish southeast.
Courtesy : TheNews