‘Test for democracy’ as Turkish prime minister says he will step down

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced his resignation on Thursday after falling out of favour with the country’s president. “I decided that for the unity of the ruling party a change of chairman would be more appropriate. I am not considering running at the May 22 congress,” Mr Davutoglu said. His decision will allow president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take a firmer grip on power and has raised concerns about the future of the country’s parliamentary democracy.

I feel no reproach, anger or resentment against anyone. No-one heard, or will ever hear, a single word from my mouth, from my tongue or my mind against our president

Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Mr Davutoglu had carved out a strong profile but tension had been growing between the two men for months. They failed to patch up their differences at crisis talks on Wednesday. Mr Davutoglu indicated he did not plan to resign from the AK party, saying he would “continue the struggle” as a ruling party legislator. He also pledged loyalty to Mr Erdogan, saying the president’s honor was his honour. Potential successors include transport minister Binali Yildirim and the youthful energy minister Berat Albayrak, who is married to the president’s eldest daughter, Esra.

What’s coming to an end today is not only Davutoglu’s failed political career but also Turkey’s parliamentary democracy.

Aykan Erdemir, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies