Ahmet Davutoğlu

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Ahmet Davutoğlu
Ahmet Davutoglu cropped.JPG
Prime Minister of Turkey
Taking office
28 August 2014
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Succeeding Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Leader of the Justice and Development Party
Assumed office
21 August 2014
Preceded by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
50th Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
1 May 2009
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Ali Babacan
Personal details
Born (1959-02-26) 26 February 1959 (age 55)
Taşkent, Turkey
Political party Justice and Development Party
Spouse(s) Sare Davutoğlu (1984–present)
Children Sefure
Hacer Bike
Alma mater Boğaziçi University
Religion Sunni Islam

Ahmet Davutoğlu (Turkish pronunciation: [ahˈmet daˈvutoːɫu]; born 26 February 1959) is a Turkish diplomat who has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey since 2009. He is also a political scientist, an academic, and an ambassador at large. Prior to becoming Foreign Minister, Davutoğlu served as chief advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He became a Member of Parliament for Konya in the 2011 general election.

On 21 August 2014, Davutoglu was announced as new leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party, which means he will succeed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the Prime Minister of Turkey.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Ahmet Davutoğlu was born in Taşkent, Konya Province, Turkey. He graduated from İstanbul Erkek Lisesi, which is a Deutsche Auslandsschule (German International school) and studied at the Department of Economics and Political Science of the Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. He holds a Master's degree in Public Administration and a PhD degree in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University. Between 1993 and 1999 he worked at Marmara University and became a full professor in 1999. He was the chairman of the Department of International Relations at Beykent University in Istanbul, Turkey. Between 1995-1999 he wrote weekly columns for Turkish daily Yeni Şafak.

Davutoğlu at the 50th Munich Security Conference in 2014

He is a father of four children; his wife is a medical doctor.

Davutoğlu was granted a title of ambassador in 2003 by the joint decision of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Abdullah Gül.[2]

His publications include Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory, The Civilizational Transformation and The Muslim World in English, Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth), and Küresel Bunalım (The Global Crisis) in Turkish. Especially his book Strategic Depth is a very influential book in Turkey's foreign policy orientation. He is very influential in the military, academic, and government triangle shaping Turkish foreign policy.[3]

Foreign Minister[edit]

Davutoğlu was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2009 despite not being a Member of Parliament. He entered the Grand National Assembly as an MP for Konya in the 2011 general election and continued serving as Foreign Minister in Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's third cabinet.

He was listed in Foreign Policy magazine as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010" for "being the brains behind Turkey's global reawakening."[4] In an interview, he talked about his "Zero Problems Policy" and said that "it is possible to have zero problems if the other actors respect our values. It doesn't mean that we will be silent in order to have good relations with all parties."[5] In 2011's Foreign Policy magazine's list of "Top 100 Global Thinkers" he was listed together with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "imagining a new role for Turkey in the world- and making it happen.[6]

On 30 March 2012 he met with Bechara Boutros al-Rahi of Lebanon and said that they should meet occasionally during this century.[7]


Davutoğlu (third left) at the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Conference in 2011

Davutoğlu has called for Turkey to become more than just a regional power within Europe and the Middle East and expressed a desire for Ankara to have a far more influential role in world politics.[8] Davutoğlu is generally linked to the notion of Turkish neo-Ottomanism, which favours a commonwealth with its neighbours and old Ottoman connections.[9] Although his foreign policies have been regarded as neo-Ottomanist by Western and especially U.S. media, Davutoğlu does not accept such a characterization. He stated in an interview with Turkish daily Sabah that "as much as we don't use this conceptualization, the fact that it is being used against us is either because of misunderstanding or lack of goodwill." He argued against the idea that Turkey is trying to establish a neo-Ottoman imperial order: "I have said that Turkey as a nation-state is equal with any other nation-state of our region whether it is small in population or area. We don't have any hegemony on anyone. Rather what we are trying to do is to contribute to the establishment of a permanent peace in our region. If by order they mean is Pax Ottomana, Pax in the meaning of order, we are trying to establish a order, it is not wrong to say such thing."[10]

In 2013, Davutoğlu spoke of developing a closer union between former Ottoman lands, though stated that territorial claims would never rest on historical borders.[11]


On 24 April 2014 he and Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement in nine languages where they agreed that the 1915 Armenian deportation was inhumane. They also agreed that the crime should be studied by both Turkish, Armenian, and foreign historians.[12]

Greece and Cyprus[edit]

Davutoğlu visiting Western Thrace

In June 2012, Davutoğlu accused the Greek government of not respecting the rights of Turkish minorities, especially in Western Thrace. He further stressed that the alleged withdrawal of Greek citizenships from Turkish minority citizens was against the Treaty of Lausanne.[13]

In 2013, Davutoğlu brought a possible two-state solution of the Cyprus dispute to Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos after controversy erupted over the ownership of offshore oil reserves. The prospect was swiftly disregarded by the Greek foreign ministry.[14] Davutoğlu also claimed that negotiations to resolve the dispute would accelerate under the leadership of Nikos Anastasiadis, who had supported the Annan Plan and had voted yes in the 2004 Annan Plan referendum. This, according to Davutoğlu, was in stark contrast to former Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, who had voted against. Davutoğlu has also expressed that any new possible solution does not need to be based on the Annan Plan.[15]

Davutoğlu meets with former Greek Foreign Minister Dimitrios Droutsas

On the issue of turning Hagia Sofia into a mosque, Davutoğlu has stated that all international laws on such issues would be obeyed.[16][17]He has also called the Greek government to respect the religious freedoms of Muslims within Greece, which he alleged to be under threat from legislation such as the "240 Imam Act". He claimed that the Greek government should refrain from interfering in religious affairs.[18]

In May 2014, Davutoğlu stated that Turkey would not pay compensation of €90 million to Greek Cyprus for the damages dating back to the 1974 Cyprus invasion despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In a statement, Davutoğlu claimed that the Foreign Ministry saw no need to obey a court ruling which was directed at an entity not recognised by the Republic of Turkey. He also criticised the ECHR ruling, and claimed that it contained errors and inconsistencies. Adding that obeying the ruling was impractical, Davutoğlu stated that the ruling of the court was a substancial blow against achieving a resolution to the Cyprus Dispute. The government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus supported Davutoğlu's position, arguing that the court ruling was simply made to please Greece and Greek Cypriots.[19]

Israel and Gaza[edit]

Before becoming Foreign Minister, Davutoğlu was one of the leading actors on behalf of the Turkish government during the shuttle diplomacy for the settlement of 2008 Israel–Gaza conflict.

Davutoğlu (left) with US Secretary of State John Kerry (centre) and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah (right) discussing Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal (Paris, 2014)

Following the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, Davutoğlu put forward three conditions for the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Israel. He stated that the State of Israel should issue an apology for the incident and pay compensation, and also lift the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Davutoğlu managed to secure an apology in March 2013, and compensation deals were finalised in 2014. He further stated that the political unrest in Egypt had delayed the lifting of the naval blockade.[20] In February 2014, Davutoğlu claimed that Turkish-Israeli relations were closer to normalisation than ever, and that the strengthening of Palestine will help increase the influence of Turkey in the Middle East.[21] His remarks were criticised by lawyers for allegedly interfering with the cases against the Israeli soldiers who were involved in the Mavi Marmara incident.[22]

At an Ankara conference in May 2014, Davutoğlu claimed that the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem caused suffering to citizens, and that it was a moral obligation to protect the city's culture and Islamic identity.[23]

With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taking a strong anti-Israel stance during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, Davutoğlu pursued a policy of active participation, providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza.[24] Relations between Turkey and Israel deteriorated significantly, with Israel withdrawing diplomatic staff from Turkey just a few months after announcing that staff numbers would increase due to safety fears.[25] On July 26, Davutoğlu met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah in Paris in an unsuccessful attempt to draft a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.[26]


Davutoğlu with John Kerry and Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Moaz al-Khatib in İstanbul, May 2013

The Turkish government adopted a policy of strong opposition against Bashaar Al Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[27] Davutoğlu has supported the need to strengthen the rebels against Assad's regime, though his stance was complicated by the growing influence of Al-Qaeda related militant action within Syria as the civil war progressed.

In September 2012, Davutoğlu called for the establishment of "safe zones" in northern Syria to accommodate refugees and reduce the number of civilian casualties. He warned that continued global inactivity in regards to Syria will lead to failure "like Bosnia" in response to the United Nations General Assembly's failure to reach consensus.[28]

In a conference of Syria-bordering countries hosted in Jordan, Davutoğlu stated in May 2014 that Turkey had spent US$3 billion on maintaining refugee camps, and that the United Nations needed to do more to finance their upkeeping. In the same conference, he claimed that "the world has failed Syria."[29] Davutoğlu has pledged to support the United States should they authorise military action within Syria. Losing confidence in the United Nations Security Council, Davutoğlu has not ruled out a military option to resolving the crisis. The political opposition within Turkey has strongly criticised Davutoğlu's policy on Syria, claiming that it was responsible for the 2013 Reyhanlı bombings.[30]

On March 23 2014, a Syrian fighter jet was shot down by the Turkish Armed Forces. Davutoğlu claimed that the jet had violated Turkish airspace, whereas this allegation was denied by the Syrian authorities. The incident occurred 7 days before local elections, and Davutoğlu claimed that anyone who thought that the downing of the jet was an election ploy was "evil minded."[31] He also stated that Turkey would not accept the 2014 Syrian presidential election as legitimate.[32]


Davutoğlu with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference

Prime Minister[edit]

Davutoğlu was elected leader of the Justice and Development Party on 21 August 2014 and is due to take over as Prime Minister from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the 28 August.

Selected works[edit]

  • Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory. University Press of America, 1993
  • Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World. Quill, 1994
  • Stratejik derinlik: Türkiye'nin uluslararası konumu. Küre Yayınları, 2001[33]
  • Osmanlı Medeniyeti: Siyaset İktisat Sanat. Klasik, 2005
  • Küresel Bunalım. Küre, 2002.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Turkey chooses Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister". Big News Network.com. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  2. ^ T.C Resmî Gazete, 18 January 2008, Ankara, http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/eskiler/2003/01/20030118.htm#13
  3. ^ Biyografi Net, http://www.biyografi.net/kisiayrinti.asp?kisiid=2063
  4. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers 7. Ahmet Davutoglu". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on December 12, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  5. ^ Hounshell, Blake. "Mr. 'Zero Problems'". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on September 12, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ "16 Ahmet Davutoglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Ahmet Davutoğlu meets with Maronite Patriarch in historic visit". Tourism Travel Vacation. March 30, 2012. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ Jonny Dymond (December 3, 2009). "Turkey FM Davutoglu embraces mediation role". BBC News. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ Simsek, Ayhan (June 10, 2009). "The changes and challenges of Turkey's foreign policy". Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  10. ^ Batur, Nur. "New Ottomans is not a goodwilled description". Sabah. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Daloğlu, Tulin. "Davutoğlu Invokes Ottomanism as new Mideast Order". Al Monitor. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Turkey’s FM Davutoglu: PM Erdogan’s condolences a call for consensus". August 24, 2014. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Davutoğlu: Greece failed to protect Turkish minority rights". Today's Zaman. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Greece Nixes Turkish Bid On Cyprus". Greek Reporter. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Greece should be strong and stable says Davutoglu". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Greek and Turkish Ministers’ Meeting on Minority Issues and Cyprus". Greek Reporter. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Greece-Turkey: Foreign Minister Davutoglu in Athens". ANSA Med. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Greece should be strong and stable says Davutoglu". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Turkey won't compensate Greek Cyprus over 1974, says Davutoğlu". Today's Zaman. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Davutoglu says Turkish-Israeli relationship nears normalization". Al Monitor. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Foreign Minister Davutoğlu addressed the recent developments in Turkish - Israeli relations in a TV interview". T.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Mavi Marmara lawyers reject dismissal with Israel". Hürriyet. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Turkish FM: Jerusalemites ‘suffer’ under occupation". Times of Israel. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Turkey airlifts 4 injured Gazans for treatment". Times of Israel. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  25. ^ "After violent protests, Israel to pull some diplomatic staff from Turkey". Times of Israel. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  26. ^ "US officials warn Kerry criticism could jeopardize Israel ties". Times of Israel. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Foreign Minister Davutoğlu “We will stand by the Syrian people until they live with honor in all around Syria”". T.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Turkey: Risk worth taking for Syria safe zones". BBC News. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  29. ^ "World has failed Syria, says Turkey’s Davutoglu". iOL News. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Davutoğlu'ndan Reyhanlı Açıklaması". Milliyet News. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Davutoglu defends Syria policy". Almonitor. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  33. ^ Menekse Tokyay (March 15, 2003). "Turkey dines with Ottoman past". Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Babacan
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister of Turkey

Party political offices
Preceded by
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Leader of the Justice and Development Party