Why did Erdogan get rid of his Prime Minister Davutoglu?

by omouggos

A few weeks ago there were rumors that the Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu was planning to resign due to tensions between himself and President Erdoğan.[1] Initially I didn’t think too much of such rumors, as Davutoğlu had always appeared to me to be a faithful servant to his master Erdoğan. So why would he resign? But I was wrong and on May 5 Davutoğlu informed the Turkish people that he will not be seeking a new term as Prime Minister.[2]

During his resignation speech Davutoğlu described his term as, “one of success. With this decision, there is no feeling of unsuccessfulness or regret over what I have done. I did my job properly and with honor.” He continued that his resignation was “not a decision of mine but a necessity.” His explanation as to why he resigned was, “I am of the opinion that a change in the party chairmanship would be much better than reshuffling the MYK [Central Decision-Making Body] of the AKP. That move would create more tension inside the party.” So in effect we are to believe that there was some problem between him and the AKP central committee. He also made it clear that he and Erdoğan were still close stating, “I will continue my relation with our president … until my last breath. The honor of our president is my honor. His family is my family. No one should dare to initiate new plots.

Davutoğlu’s resignation was a surprising and odd turn of events. Burak Bekdil described it best in his recent Gatestone article:[3]

“Why would a prime minister, who only a few months ago won a general election with 49.5% of the vote, step down? Corruption allegations? A soaring opposition? Plummeting public approval for this or that reason? A scandalous affair that fell into the public domain? None of those applies to Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who on May 5 announced that he would take the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to an extraordinary general convention, where he would not run for chairman or prime minister. After barely 20 months in office, Davutoğlu was abruptly quitting.”

While Davutoğlu attempted to convince us that his resignation was due to tensions between him and the AKP central committee, most knew what the real cause was, President Erdoğan. Furthermore, this was not some run of the mill resignation of a political figure, but represented a significant event in Turkey’s history having serious ramifications for the nation’s political future. The leaders of the Turkish opposition parties recognized the event for what it really was, a coup by Erdoğan. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the CHP, the second largest political party in Turkey stated, “Davutoğlu’s resignation should not be perceived as an internal party issue; all democracy supporters must resist this palace coup. … Mr. Davutoğlu came to the prime ministry seat as a result of the nation’s will but he was forced to leave it due to the will, not of the 23.5 million people who voted for him, but of one person [Erdogan].”[4] Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Kurdish HDP, had a similar view of the situation, “It is seen that even 99.9 percent homage is not enough for the palace. … The people have elected you and the person at the palace wants to decide on who will rule this country. This is called a coup.”[4]

Understanding that what has happened in Turkey is a coup orchestrated by Erdoğan and is another step in his adamant desire to reformulate the Ottoman Empire with him as its sultan, the only question left to be answered is why did Erdoğan want Davutoğlu gone? In the view of Burak Bekdil “Erdogan wanted a Sultan-Grand Vizier partnership, whereas Davutoglu mistakenly thought that the two Islamist comrades were the President and Prime Minister.”[3] In other words Davutoğlu wasn’t subservient enough, even though as Demirtas remarked he was 99.9% compliant, but that was not good enough for Erdoğan.

So what exactly was the 0.1% divergence that led to Davutoğlu’s ousting? According to Hurriyets during the 20 months that Davutoğlu has been Prime Minister he has had 20 confrontations with Erdoğan, most of which were rather minor issues.[5] There was also a report that a “critical source of friction” between the two resulted from the issue of treasury guarantees for business and construction projects.[6] However, I highly doubt that such minor incidences and technical financial disputes were the main drivers of Erdoğan’s decision.

Maybe the answer is to be found in a heretofore obscure Turkish blog called the Pelican Brief the author of which is anonymous yet believed to be close to Erdoğan.[8] According to this blog Davutoğlu was a traitor to Turkey, as the two tasks that he was given by the president, “not to collaborate with the West” and to “help facilitate the transition to the presidential system” he failed at. Pertaining to the former task his dealings with a variety of foreign leaders and groups, such as NY bankers, the EU and Obama were impermissible. While on the latter he “never advocated the presidential system during his electoral campaign.” For these and other reasons, in the view of the anonymous blogger, Davutoğlu had to go.

There is another theory as to why Erdoğan wanted Davutoğlu out as Prime Minister. In Walid Shoebat’s view the Davutoglu’s sin was his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.[9] According to Shoebat a week before the coup “there was a fiery letter sent by Davutoğlu’s counselor, Umar Korqmaz to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey,” in which they were warned “to stop their global outreach from Turkey.” Korqmaz even went so far as to mock the Brotherhood on TV saying “they failed to establish the Caliphate through democracy in Egypt and now they have come to Turkey to make our democracy fail?” This was a big mistake by Davutoğlu as Erdoğan, who in the words of Shoebat “loves the Brotherhood,” could not tolerate such criticism of his Islamist brethren.

I believe Shoebat’s analysis of the situation is spot on, and is much more plausible than believing that some disagreement over treasury guarantees precipitated Davutoğlu’s resignation. Ultimately, Erdoğan has successfully staged a “palace coup” and he is now in complete control in Turkey. Remember, that ostensibly the President in Turkey is a ceremonial position and the Prime Minister is an official one, yet somehow the ceremonial figure was able to depose the official one. All this illustrates is that Erdoğan is in fact in control of Turkey, and his grip on power is firmer than ever. Erdoğan has successfully completed one more step towards the establishment of his Ottoman Caliphate, which will be ideologically backed by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. One wonders what the Sultan’s next step will be in the unfolding of his megalomania.

O Mouggos


[1] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eyes-on-erdogan-davutoglu-meet-amid-rumors-of-resignation.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98716&NewsCatID=338

[2] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/turkey-davutoglu-set-talks-fail-reports-160505034300569.html , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/davutoglu-stepping-down-as-turkish-pm-akp-to-hold-snap-congress.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98766&NewsCatID=338

[3] http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8031/turkey-prime-minister

[4] http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/05/05/464130/Turkey-Davutoglu-Erdogan-CHP-Kilicdaroglu/ , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98785&NewsCatID=338

[5] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/20-confrontations-between-davutoglu-and-erdogan-during-20-months-of-prime-ministry.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98825&NewsCatID=338

[6] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/treasury-guarantees-were-a-critical-rift-between-erdogan-and-davutoglu-sources-say.aspx?pageID=238&nID=98889&NewsCatID=344

[7] http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/05/turkey-rift-between-erdogan-davutoglu.html

[8] http://shoebat.com/2016/05/07/the-muslim-brotherhood-just-made-a-coup-now-the-muslim-brotherhood-is-the-most-powerful-army-in-nato-after-the-united-states/