The government wanted to make a puppet out of me when I was the prime minister, Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu said, as he commented on the process that led to his resignation in 2016.
In an interview with journalist Cüneyt Özdemir, Davutoğlu said that in the beginning of his career as the prime minister, he asked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to not overstep him via giving orders to party members without his knowledge.
“If I had the chance to go back, I would have an extensive conversation with Erdoğan on how to share the authorities and responsibilities,” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu quit his post over disagreements he had with Erdoğan, which finally resulted in his resignation from party membership in 2019.
He then founded the opposition Future Party late last year.
Commenting on the congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) held on Sept. 12, 2015, Davutoğlu said that a list of Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) members was prepared and presented to him without his consultations.
“I made a choice in the congress. We could have failed to win the Nov. 1 elections if I had presented my own list. So, I accepted the initial list to prevent a crisis,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t have accepted it today.
“I made mistakes two times. I didn’t think that Erdoğan would make me quit my post as prime minister after winning the Nov. 1 elections. The second is that I trusted the 50 people in the MKYK list, but unfortunately 47 of them approved limiting my authorities when I was abroad,” Davutoğlu added.
During the MKYK meeting held on April 29, 2016, Davutoğlu’s authorities were trimmed significantly without his knowledge.
“They approved this to corner me upon Erdoğan’s orders,” he said, adding that some of them apologized afterwards.
“The event that initiated by resignation process was that MKYK meeting. They wanted to give me the message of, ‘You’ll be a puppet prime minister and we’ll rule everything.’ I called Erdoğan afterwards and tried to prevent a state crisis,” Davutoğlu said.
‘Amendments were not constitutional’
Davutoğlu also said that he made a third mistake in not objecting to the April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum sufficiently, although he said that he never openly supported it.
“I gave a dissenting opinion consisting of 17 pages. I talked to [then-prime minister] Binali Yıldırım and Erdoğan about it. I didn’t say vote ‘yes’ once. The President’s anger towards me comes from here. If I had to go back, I would say that the amendments are not constitutional and not vote for it in parliament,” Davutoğlu said.
Turkish voters said “yes” to shifting the country’s governance system to an executive presidency with a controversial referendum on constitutional amendments on April 16, 2017.
The country shifted to the system officially on July 9, 2018, replacing a 95-year-old parliamentary system.
The system granted sweeping powers to Erdoğan and allowed him to be both the AKP leader and the president at the same time.
Davutoğlu deems Pelican group ‘jackals’
The Future Party leader also talked about the Pelican group, a group said to be consisting of staunch supporters of Erdoğan who are influential in the pro-government media, saying that his resignation is not related to it.
The Future Party leader was referring to a lengthy document known as the “Pelican Brief” that’s believed to have been written by a hardcore faction of Erdoğan supporters. The document posted online detailed how Davutoğlu “betrayed” Erdoğan by not pushing enough for “the presidential system” that the latter is passionate about and also by “collaborating with the West and its Trojan horses [inside Turkey] who want to topple the chief.”
“The briefing showed me that politics got ugly. The issue was not only discussed in the MKYK meeting, but a group of jackals were brought to the scene. However, lions don’t take jackals into account,” Davutoğlu said.