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Turkish PM quits for Erdogan

Erdogan, Gul
Erdogan (left) is expected to take over the post of prime minister from Gul.

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CNN's Harris Whitbeck reports new Turkish P.M. Tayyip Erdogan's election may pave the way for a new vote in parliament on the U.S. request to deploy troops in Turkey ahead of possible action against Iraq (March 11)
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ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Abdullah Gul has resigned as Turkey's prime minister, clearing the way for ruling party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take over as the country faces intense pressure over a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq,

Erdogan, leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was sworn in as a member of parliament on Tuesday following his victory in Sunday's by-election.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer asked Erdogan to form a new government. Erdogan said he would act as soon as possible.

He intends to present a Cabinet list with minor changes, and one source told CNN the list might be submitted to the president as early as Wednesday.

Turkey's president and parliament must approve the new government. Under Turkish law, whoever is assigned to form a government will lead it once it is approved.

Gul said on Monday he would resign as premier to make way for his party's leader. Gul will remain lame-duck prime minister until the change is completed.

The AKP won a majority in last November's election, but Erdogan was barred from running because of a former conviction for religious sedition. The new government changed the law to allow him to run in Sunday's by-election.

Erdogan's election may pave the way for a new vote in parliament on Washington's request to deploy up to 62,000 troops in Turkey ahead of a possible invasion of Iraq.

Parliament narrowly failed to approve the U.S. request earlier this month. (Full story)

Erdogan has backed the proposal but said he wanted more assurances from Washington on what role his country would play in a post-war Iraq before resubmitting the measure to parliament.


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