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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to resign: Reports

Turkish prime minister will not contest AKP elections to be held at end of this month, according to Turkish media
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (AFP)

Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu plans to resign from office on Thursday, according to media reports.

When the  ruling party AKP holds its congress in the next 15 to 20 days to select a new leader, Davutoglu will not run, CNN Turk has reported.

The news that Davutoglu will not contest the elections and will announce his resignation at 11am local time  (0900 GMT) on Thursday comes amid mounting tensions between Davutoglu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A rift had reportedly grown between the two AKP leaders since the June 2015 elections when their party failed to win an overall majority.

At the core of the dispute, according to an Arabi21 report citing Turkish sources, was Erdogan's decision to appoint people from outside the AKP to positions in the party's top leadership, and also planned constitutional changes that would increase the power of Erdogan's presidency.

Davutoglu's resignation comes after mediation attempts and meetings over several weeks, Arabi21 reported.

Earlier this week, Davutoglu was stripped of the authority to appoint regional AKP officials, and in a speech to AKP deputies on Tuesday, the prime minister said he would rather leave his position than hurt the party, Reuters reported.

Erdogan has recently made public statements that appeared to demean Davutoglu, including a comment that the importance of an agreement granting Turkish citizens visa-free travel to the EU that Davutoglu championed as a major victory, had been exaggerated.

On Wednesday, Erdogan made a cryptic statement saying: “People should not forget how they attained their position.” The comment was widely interpreted as a dig at Davutoglu, who rose rapidly through the ranks of the AKP from adviser to foreign minister to prime minister.

Rumours in recent days that Davutoglu planned to resign have rattled financial markets, causing the value of the Turkish lira to decline from 2.79 to the dollar earlier in the day to 2.94.

More to follow.

Suraj Sharma contributed to this article.