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August 19, 2014 AT 12:38 PM
Outgoing Turkish president Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was likely to take over as chairman of the ruling AK Party, and thus become the next prime minister. Turkey's current prime minister and AKP chairman Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month tightened his grip on political power in the NATO member nation when he won the country's first direct presidential elections with more than 51 percent of the vote. Erdogan will step down as leader of the AK Party when he is inaugurated as head of state on Aug. 28, as required by the constitution; but has made clear that he wants the party he co-founded with Gul more than a decade ago to remain loyal and unified. Speculation has been growing that Davutoglu, a close Erdogan ally, was being groomed as his replacement