New Turkish Prime Minister: Longtime Erdogan Crony
by Stephen Lendman
In early May, former Justice and Development Party (AKP) prime minister Ahmet Davugtolu was ousted in a palace coup, Erdogan removing him to solidify power. On May 22, his tenure ended.
Longtime Erdogan ally Binali Yildirim succeeds him. Previously he served as Transport, Maritime and Communication minister. In 2014 and 2015, he was a senior Erdogan advisor.
Earlier, he was Istanbul Fast Ferries Company chairman when Erdogan was city mayor – before elected to parliament in 2002.
On May 19, Erdogan’s controlled AKP Central Executive Committee and all 1,405 members of its second Extraordinary Congress unanimously elected him prime minister during its session.
He formed Turkey’s 65th government, officially becoming prime minister on May 24 – chosen to spearhead transition from a parliamentary system to despotic presidential rule under Erdogan.
In his first address as prime minister, he said his “priority is to render the constitution more in harmony with the de-facto situation regarding our president’s ties to the people” – code language for giving him dictatorial powers.
Nine new ministers were named, retained ones known Erdogan loyalists. Yildirim promised to push ahead with his hardline agenda, including war on Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, along his involvement in wanting Syria’s Bashar al-Assad ousted.
“We will increase the number of our friends,” he said. “We will decrease the number of our enemies,” a virtual endless war pledge.
He left no doubt where he stands, calling AKP members “comrades of Erdogan,” saying his “passion is our passion, (his) cause our cause, (his) path our path.”
“The new constitution (Erdogan wants) will be on an executive system.” So-called “anti-terror operations (sic) will end when all our citizens are safe” – when all opposition forces are eliminated.
Independent Cumhuriyet newspaper said he owns at least 28 ships, two super-yachts and 17 companies. At least one family member faced fraud and bribery charges. Earlier corruption allegations against him were later dropped.
His communications ministerial portfolio involved cracking down on free expression online, increasing Big Brother surveillance.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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