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Turkey’s Davutoglu confirms won't seek new term as AKP head

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu leaves a news conference at his ruling AK Party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey May 5, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has defended his term in office as a ‘success’, saying he will no longer stand for the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In a speech on Thursday, a day after AKP announced its decision to hold an extraordinary congress to pick a new leader, Davutoglu said he will not seek a new mandate in the party’s top role and would resign as prime minister.  

“I have no sense of failure or regrets in taking this decision,” Davutoglu said, adding, “The changing of chairs is more proper; I do not want to be a candidate at the congress.”

He said the congress for leadership election in the AKP will be held on May 22, adding that he would certainly not stand as a candidate in the absence of a consensus among the party members.

According to AKP party rules, the party chief and premier are always the same person.

He said after leaving office, he will continue to carry out his duties as a member of parliament representing Konya in central Anatolia.

Davutoglu called his time in office a success in terms of investment and struggle against terrorism.

The Turkish PM ruled out rumors about growing differences between him and President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, saying his loyalty to and friendship with AKP’s most influential man will remain as before.

Erdogan is pushing for establishment of a presidential system instead of the current parliamentary system in Turkey. Davutoglu has, however, asserted that such a system would eat away at his authority.

The two men sat for a special meeting in the presidential palace on Wednesday, with reports saying Davutoglu had asked for an extraordinary congress of the AKP to be convened.

Erdogan hailed the move and offered congratulations to Davutoglu on his decision, according to Turkish media reports.

This comes as Erdogan had previously criticized Davutoglu for remarks he made about Turkey’s potential amendments to the presidential system, saying Davutoglu should not forget how he became prime minister.

The AKP infighting comes as Turkey is in the midst of its battle against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeast while security has been fragile in border regions with Syria with regular rocket attacks by the Takfiri group Daesh keep claiming civilians. 

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