Three figures stand out for AKP leadership in post-Erdoğan period, says journo

Journalist Nuray Babacan has stated that there are mainly three names being considered as the next AKP leader after President Erdoğan within the party, who are Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Baykar’s co-owner Selçuk Bayraktar, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, and lawmaker and former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

Duvar English

Journalist Nuray Babacan, from Gazete Pencere, on Sept. 5 reported that there is not a single person within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “who does not talk about or think about the aftermath of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

Babacan said there are mainly three figures being considered as the next AKP leader after Erdoğan within the party. Erdoğan is the president and AKP leader at the same time.

The first one of these names is Erdoğan's son-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar, co-owner of the drone maker Baykar company.

“It is said that there is a new team of advisors trying to ensure that Bayraktar turns into a political figure in the future. Some AKP members, who are disturbed by the attempts to keep the 'son-in-law grand vizier' tradition of the Ottoman Empire alive, say that this will not work in today's Turkey. Apart from the company's investments in the field of defense, the power of Bayraktar in appointments for defense industry is spoken like an ordinary issue within the AKP. (Figures in AKP) clearly explain the management of Aselsan and the Industry Ministry is determined by him,” the journalist said.

The second figure for the AKP leadership, according to Babacan, is Foreign Minister and former National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head Hakan Fidan. 

“A team that has been active since the establishment of the AKP argues that if Fidan succeeds in civilian politics, he will be advantageous. They say that Fidan's power in foreign policy and his silent diplomacy success will open this door, but that he should switch from the image of 'intelligence chief' to a civilian politician in the eyes of public,” she said. 

The last name is AKP lawmaker and former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu who has not made much appearance in public and media since the elections. 

“Those who claim that Soylu's silence is temporary and that he will resurface at the appropriate time are not few in number. It is said that Soylu will start an open struggle after Erdoğan, and that the number of visitors who visit him never decreases is the best example of this. In addition, it is stated that Soylu is the only person who has public support among the three names,” Babacan lastly added.

On May 28 in the second round of the elections, the 69-year-old Erdoğan was elected as the president for the third time despite the constitutional two-term limit. He has been either prime minister or president since 2003. He has been the head of the AKP since 2001, with a three-year interruption between 2014-2017.