Erdogan tightens grip on power in Turkey as old ally is made prime minister

President Tayyip Erdogan cemented his grip on power in Turkey as a close ally was pencilled in as his new prime minister. His campaign to extend the power of the presidency will be boosted by the promotion of transport minister Binali Yildirim, who will be elected unopposed as leader of the ruling AK Party on Sunday. The decision to shoo-in his fellow co-founder of the party will raise fears about the growing authoritarianism of the president. Mr Yildirim will also offer more support to his long-time ally’s determination to stamp out an insurgency by militants in the largely Kurdish south-east.

His candidacy for leadership has emerged as a result of a consultation period and through a large consensus.

AKP spokesman Omer Celik

The appointment follows the resignation of Ahmet Davutoglu who stepped down earlier this month following an increasingly public rift with Mr Erdogan. Mr Yildirim’s ties to the president go back to the 1990s and they set up the AKP in 2001. After his candidacy was announced, Mr Yildirim, 60, said he was heading straight to Diyarbakir, the main city in the southeast, to visit the site of an explosion which killed 16 people last week. "I will be sharing the pain of our citizens violently massacred there: my nation should not worry, we will remove this terror menace from Turkey’s agenda,“ he vowed.

Yildirim’s primary qualification for the positions of AKP leader and PM is not his ability but his servility to the president

Wolfango Piccoli of consultancy Teneo Intelligence