Turkish transport minister in line to become premier after party nod

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim is the nominee to head Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), putting him in line to become the country's next prime minister.

Yildirim, 60, was the party's only candidate for the job.

The premiership came open earlier this month when Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu unexpectedly announced he was stepping down. Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Davutoglu had to go because he was not showing enough loyalty to the president.

Ever since Erdogan transitioned from the premier's job to the presidency, he has been trying to increase the power of his office. Erdogan's backers say Davutoglu had not supported him enough in the effort.

Davutoglu took over the premiership from Erdogan in August 2014 after a stint as foreign minister that was widely viewed as a success. Turkey's constitution says the president should not be involved in politics, but Erdogan, who helped found AKP, has kept a firm hold of the reins. It is assumed he had a role in picking Yildirim.

"There is no room between the AKP and our president and there will be none in the future," said AKP spokesman Omer Celik Thursday as Yildirim's nomination was announced, to applause from party members, several of whom referred to Erdogan a the party's "leader."

The AKP is set to stage a special congress in Ankara on Sunday to confirm the choice of Yildirim, who was nominated by the party's executive committee.

Last update: Thu, 19/05/2016 - 14:20
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