The estimations and survey results were proven correct. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the first directly-elected president of Turkey on Aug. 10. This is the beginning of a new era in Turkey. From now on, Erdoğan will continue transforming the country as its leader for the next five years.
Now the AK Party has to adapt to this change and select its leader, the prime minister and the new cabinet. The party is scheduled to hold a congress on Aug. 27 where Erdoğan will preside over. Who will become the leader and the prime minister at the congress and what will current President Abdullah Gül's position be in this new era? Here is a projection:
According to trusted internal sources, current Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is set to become both the party leader and prime minister. For me, he is also a very suitable candidate. He created a strong and independent foreign policy, and is also one of the rising names that is capable of collaborating and cooperating with Erdoğan.
So, who are other possible candidates? Numan Kurtulmuş and Erdoğan's Chief Advisor Yalçın Akdoğan's names are mentioned for the seat of the deputy prime minister. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ may also stay in the same position or act as the deputy prime minister.
Another prominent name is National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Advisor Hakan Fidan. The position of Fidan, who is the most talked about MİT advisor, is crucial. While he is the actual coordinator of foreign affairs, he is also very unique with his charisma and abilities to fill the gap after Davutoğlu leaves. Therefore, there are two possibilities: Fidan will either continue in his powerful position as MİT advisor, or be promoted to deputy prime minister in charge of the MİT and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He will also be highly involved in the Kurdish reconciliation process, meaning he will become the second most powerful member of the new cabinet.
Ali Babacan is highly likely to take a seat in the new cabinet. In coordination with Erdoğan, he will continue to improve the Turkish economy. While the two have had their disagreements, he is highly reputable, and is praised for his integrity and hard work in the international markets. Interior Minister Efkan Ala is also an important name with his harsh speeches during this tough period.
What about the 11th president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül? Right after the Aug. 10 elections he declared that he will be returning to his party, which has started various discussions about whether this was a challenge. It wasn't. Gül is one of the cornerstones of the party and has contributed to its success since the beginning. His declaration was to address the requests arising in the party. It is likely that he would like to become the leader and prime minister, but he would not insist on it as an alternative policy despite Erdoğan. A Davutoğlu government will continue until the elections in 2015. If the supporters of the AK Party accept him, then he will be the one leading the AK Party into the elections. If there are other requests from supporters or from within the party for Gül to become the new AK Party leader, then a congress will be held to elect the new party leader.
In short, Turkey will be run by Erdoğan and AK Party's politics for another period, meaning the Kurdish reconciliation process and the formation of a new constitution will be the main priorities.