The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s closest and most loyal allies, has stepped down in order to run in upcoming parliamentary elections.
Hakan Fidan tendered his resignation late on Friday. His resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday, and will take effect on Tuesday.
The move came after the 47-year-old held several hours of closed-door meetings with Erdogan and Davutoglu in the capital, Ankara, last week.
Fidan will now work as an advisor to Davutoglu up until the June 7 polls, according to a report published by the Turkish-language Radikal daily newspaper.
Under Turkish law, state officials wishing to stand in the forthcoming legislative elections must resign from their posts by February 10.
Fidan, who was appointed as Turkey’s intelligence chief in 2010 by then Prime Minister Erdogan, played a key role in stopping the leakage of official documents during a corruption scandal implicating Erdogan’s close allies last year.
Erdogan denounced the corruption scandal as well as a string of damaging leaks in the media, saying they were engineered by the supporters of his rival, Fethullah Gulen, to undermine his government. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has, however, repeatedly denied any involvement.
Political analysts believe Fidan’s move into the parliamentary field would help Erdogan and his ruling AK Party consolidate their power in Turkey.
Fidan has been widely seen as a potential future foreign minister.
Undersecretary of Turkey’s Public Order and Security Muhammed Dervisoglu would most likely replace him as head of the intelligence agency.