How did Davutoğlu lose the power struggle?

Published 06.05.2016 00:43

The moment Davutoğlu sought to establish his own power within the party against President Erdoğan, he lost the game

Last week, the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Central Decision and Administrative Board (MKYK) revoked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's authority to appoint provincial and district chairmen of the AK Party's local branches with only three missing votes, which was, as a matter of fact, the most tangible sign of what was imminent. Davutoğlu nearly lost all his ownership and influence on the party in terms of issuing and implementing decisions.

Some decisions paved the way to this breaking point. For instance, during the process of appointing provincial and district chairmen after the Nov. 1 elections, some figures who were not very familiar with the party's institution were appointed while some successful, hard-working and popular figures were discharged without counseling. But more than that, some disorder that broke out during Davutoğlu's 20-month term in office contributed to this outcome.

There are many instances of disorder, but to name a few:

Despite President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's objections, Hakan Fidan was convinced to give up heading up the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and became a deputy candidate.

Despite the Oct. 6-8 massacre, the Dolmabahçe statement was issued without Erdoğan's consent, and afterward there was an attempt to establish a monitoring committee. By the way, Erdoğan did not make it clear that he objected to this statement until it was covered by the media that a monitoring committee would be founded.

Counseling was avoided while deputy candidate lists were being assembled.

In management of the economy, there was resistance for a long time to develop a paradigm against the pro-interest mindset.

It was implied that the reconciliation process with the outlawed PKK might be reinitiated with Davutoğlu's remark: "Everything can be negotiated if the conditions of May 2013 return."

As for the EU and Schengen process, Davutoğlu represented it as if the process was simply formulated as a bargain of lifting the Schengen visa requirement in return for accepting refugees and as if the process was not kicked off during Erdoğan's time as prime minister in 2013.

While relations with the EU are in a phase of improvement, Davutoğlu did not object to controversial remarks, including when European Parliament President Martin Schulz said: "Our addressee is not Erdoğan, but Davutoğlu."

The enactment on governors was delayed for months. Some ministers were not even allowed to appoint undersecretaries, and some appointing crises came out with the delay in appointing a police chief to Ankara.

The statement: "Davutoğlu has lost a power struggle," which has been used in foreign media outlets' headlines, is true. Davutoğlu sought to build his own power within the party and state against that of Erdoğan. In a period in which the system needs to be designed in accordance with the principle that the president and Parliament must be elected by popular vote, Davutoğlu acted as if there was a parliamentary system with a powerful prime minister and attempted to rule out and pacify Erdoğan. Hence, he has lost the struggle.

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