Turkey to appoint new Prime Minister

Turkey’s ruling AK Party is set to appoint a key ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its leader and new prime minister, after a reported rift led Ahmet Davutoglu to quit.

The outgoing transport minister, Binali Yildirim, is the sole candidate at a party congress in Ankara.

Report said his main task will be to oversee constitutional changes to increase the president’s power.

The issue is thought to have been behind the resignation of Mr Davutoglu.

According to reports Mr Yildirim will not step out of line with Mr Erdogan and will even be ready to support a constitutional change that would see his role effectively scrapped.

Mr Yildirim  said “Some Western leaders find Mr Erdogan hard to deal with” and “opponents believe an unchecked Mr Erdogan will clamp down further on dissent”.

But Mr Erdogan’s supporters mainly conservative, pious Turks – still see him as the man who gave them a political voice and insist he is right to exert his control.

Mr Yildirim takes the job as Turkey faces security threats from PKK Kurdish militants and so-called Islamic State.

A ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK ended weeks after elections in June 2015, and the renewed conflict claimed hundreds of lives on both sides, particularly in Turkey’s south-east.

In a speech on Thursday, Mr Yildirim made clear he would work “in total harmony” with the president and all other levels of the AKP.

Mr Davutoglu resigned two weeks ago after failing to reconcile his differences with Mr Erdogan.

Mr Davutoglu said he would continue as a party legislator and would not try to divide the AKP.

He has served as transport minister for many years, and did not hesitate to resign from his post to run for the mayoral elections in the western city of Izmir, a secular stronghold, at Mr Erdogan’s request.

BBC/Hauwa Mustapha