Turkish prime minister to step down

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet DavutogluTurkey's prime minister stepped down Thursday, paving the way for President Recep Tayyip Erodgan to consolidate power amid complaints from opponents over his increasingly hard-line policies.

The resignation announcement comes after crisis talks between the two politicians on Wednesday night, which dragged out for almost two hours but failed to resolve their differences.

Davutoglu is expected to step down as premier later this month during an emergency party convention, according to local media reports.

The President wants Turkey to be ruled by the head of state, a system he sees as a guarantee against the coalition politics that hampered the government in the 1990s.

Davutoglu has always been at odds with the powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over several political issues, including his half-hearted support for the executive presidential system for which Erdogan has been pushing.

"A party structure and a leader who will design that will be put in place", the second source said. "Under these conditions I am not considering standing as a candidate at the upcoming extraordinary congress".

News agency AFP reported earlier on Thursday that Davutoglu will not seek a new mandate at the forthcoming congress and the outgoing prime minister confirmed that during the press conference.

The member of the AKP executive board, its main decision-making body, said Bozdag was the favorite and that the question of an early election would hinge on a leadership battle in the nationalist opposition MHP.

"We will review ourselves", Davutoglu said, stressing he would not be involved in any move that would "harm the AKP".

Some commentators argue the cause of the row may lie in the Turkish president's persistent push for more authority and his support for a transition to a presidential republic, which will enable him to amass greater power while restricting the PM's authority.

Erdogan hand-picked Davutoglu in 2014 to succeed him as the leader of their AK Party, but it is believed both men have disagreed on Erdogan's desire to move Turkey into a more presidential form of government.

"Turkey needs the block for democracy [.] while the European Union needs Turkey for economic dynamism and worldwide relations as well as a safe and stable neighbor", Mehmet Simsek said during an official visit to the Spanish capital Madrid.

But the former professor, foreign minister and adviser to Mr Erdogan tried to act independently on a range issues and often proved to be a more moderating force to Mr Erdogan.

But the two recently have fallen out with public disagreements on how to deal with Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey.

"Our relationship of loyalty with the president will continue", the prime minister insisted on Thursday.

A headline in the "Hurriyet" daily called the leader's resignation " A new era in the AKP" while the opposition "Cumhuriyet" newspaper termed the incident a "Palace Coup", referring to Erdogan's latest attempts to strengthen his position - and to his notoriously luxurious new palace.

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