Ankara, May 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Manolis Kostidis
Yildirim has Erdogan’s total trust
The 61-year old Binali Yıldırım is one of the persons Erdogan trusts more, after his family.
It is no coincidence as he is the longest serving Minister of Transport of Turkey (12 years in office) and has signed the largest infrastructure projects with a value of over USD 150 billion!
Among these projects is the underwater tunnel of Bosphorus, the under construction Istanbul airport (the largest in the world), and the third bridge over Bosporus.
He is the only candidate for the leadership of the AKP at the extraordinary party congress to be held Sunday by decision of the party’s executive board.
Everybody knows, that the name of Yildirim (means lightning), as the sole candidate for AKP’s presidency and the successor of Ahmet Davutoğlu as prime minister, was announced by the order of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has total and complete control over the party.
A friendship that starts back in 1994
The friendship and cooperation with the Turkish president starts from the time Erdogan was Mayor of Istanbul in 1994.
At the time Yildirim was appointed as chairman of İDO company that controls maritime transports of Istanbul.
Information indicates that in the AKP’s congress in September 2015, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had nominated Yildirim as president of the party. After mutual compromise between Erdogan and Davutoglu, Yildirim’s name was withdrawn at the last minute causing him much frustration.
A few months later, however, Erdogan, politically “beheaded” Davutoglu and appointed his friend and collaborator in his place.
From shipwright to prime minister of Turkey
Yildirim graduated from the shipbuilding department of the University of Istanbul. He completed his master’s degree at the same department. Later he worked in various shipyards in Turkey.
After his meeting with Erdogan he was appointed to the municipal company in 1994 and since 2002 is Transport minister with a pause for four months in 2015, because he was not elected as MP, due to AKP regulation that bans a fourth consecutive parliamentary term.
In the elections of October he was reelected as MP and was appointed again as minister of Transport.
The name of Yildirim had been heard among the ministers’ names involved in the financial scandals, involving Erdogan’s family and the illegal wiretappings of 2013. Nothing was proved anything against him in the court of law and he has stressed that his aim is to serve the motherland.
Last month, the opposition newspaper Sözcü had published photos of Yildirim’s son gambling at a casino in Singapore. The issue did not receive much publicity as no other media took it up.
Unconfirmed rumors in Ankara had then talked about a possible leakage of these photos from circles close to Davutoglu, in order to wear Yildirim, as there were suspicions for the deposition of the Turkish prime minister.
“And now, make room for the presidential regime!”, Yildirim stated a few days after the announcement of Davutoglu that he steps down from office, following the meeting with Erdogan, exactly the intention of his close friend and collaborator.
Next Monday Yildirim is expected to announce the composition of the cabinet and turkish media say the list of ministers is already being written in Erdogan’s palace.