In your opinion, what was the main cause of tension between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that caused the latter to resign?
Davutoğlu kept thinking to himself: "As prime minister, I am supposed to run this government, so I will take charge." But Erdoğan had other ideas – and wielded much more power.
Last month, Davutoğlu said that his government was considering opening negotiations with the PKK if its fighters disarmed. Shortly after, Erdoğan openly said the only option is the total defeat of the PKK. Davutoğlu then followed by completely reversing himself and adopting Erdoğan's position. How do you evaluate the prime minister's contradictory statements?
He thought he could defy the president. He learned better.
What was the Western experience with Davutoğlu? Was he an independent leader?
Davutoğlu was not exactly independent but he did have a certain area of maneuver. Western diplomats found him to be more reasonable and flexible than Erdoğan. Accordingly, they preferred to work with Davutoğlu – and this seems to have been an important impetus for Erdoğan to force his resignation.
What do you see Davutoğlu doing next?
Like former president Abdullah Gül and others who have crossed Erdoğan, I expect Davutoğlu to go quietly into the night and almost disappear from politics. He indicated this would be the case when he announced in his farewell speech that "No one has ever heard a word from me against our president and no one ever will," adding a pledge of loyalty to Erdoğan.
How do European capitals evaluate Davutoğlu's resignation?
They will miss him. The next prime minister will be totally subservient to the president's will, without any independence.
Obama rejected an official private meeting with Erdoğan during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington but accepted Davutoğlu's request to have a meeting. What was Obama's message?
That he too finds Davutoğlu more congenial to work with than Erdoğan.
Will Davutoğlu's resignation cause Turkey-America relations to deteriorate?
I expect it will. Americans do not like dictators.
How do you personally assess the resignation?
It is another step in Erdoğan's long-term transformation from democrat to dictator. I am fascinated how he could nearly hide his real personality for so long, and also how the acquisition of power increased his appetite.
How do you evaluate Washington's attitude towards Erdoğan?
Worrying about what he might do next.
With Davutoğlu gone, do you expect a change in Ankara's stance on U.S. collaboration with Kurdish fighters in Syria?
I do not expect a change. This was always under Erdoğan's control.
Where do you see Erdoğan heading?
I expect things to end badly for him, specifically a foreign crisis because he focuses too much on domestic politics and ignores the subtleties of international affairs.
Given that Turkey was about to pass on all 72 criteria needed to gain visa-free travel in much of the European Union but now the definition of terrorism has emerged as a major stumbling block, how do you evaluate Erdoğan's timing of Davutoğlu's resignation?
This offers a good example of Erdoğan focusing too much on domestic issues. Had he paid more attention to foreign affairs, he would understood to wait to fire Davutoğlu, whom the Europeans like, until after the visa-free travel had started (and perhaps also for the British vote on leaving the EU). But he did not and so visa-free travel for Turks looks doomed.