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Turkey ruling party confirms Davutoglu as Erdogan successor

AFP , Wednesday 27 Aug 2014
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Extraordinary Congress of the ruling AK Party (AKP) to choose a new leader of the party, ahead of Erdogan's inauguration as president, in Ankara August 27, 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Wednesday confirmed Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as the successor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as premier and party leader.

In a purely ceremonial vote at a congress a day before Erdogan takes office as president, the AKP overwhelmingly approved Davutoglu, who was the only candidate standing.

Davutoglu -- foreign minister since 2009 -- is due to take over on Thursday when Erdogan is sworn in and rapidly form a new government.

He had earlier sought to shake off his image as a bookish academic with a impassioned and sometimes noisy speech to the congress that strained the limits of the sound system in the Ankara area and left him dripping with sweat.

Davutoglu, 55, said that there would be no conflict with Erdogan, 60, as president and the two would build a new Turkey "hand in hand".

"There will be no conflict between the president and the prime minister, who are both elected by popular vote.

"We will build the new Turkey hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. No one can sow the seeds of animosity between the comrades."

Showing his combative side, Davutoglu slammed the anti-government protests last year over the redevelopment of an Istanbul park as an attempt "to destroy the self-confidence that we have instilled in our people".

He vowed to build a strong Turkey that would flourish and would not collapse like the Ottoman Empire.

"We will not let Turkey face the big disaster that the Ottoman Empire has faced."

"We are on the eve of a march of the new Turkey. We will pass this everlasting march to our successors and next generations."

Davutoglu also repeated Erdogan's vows to seek a new constitution for Turkey after 2015 legislative elections that would invest the presidency with greater powers.

"A new constitution, a constitution that would recognise freedoms, will pave the way for Turkey ahead," he said.

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