By Ercan Gurses and Nick Tattersall ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Thursday that he was stepping down as leader of Turkey's ruling AK Party and therefore as prime minister, bowing to President Tayyip Erdogan's drive to create a powerful executive presidency. In a speech defending his record but also vowing loyalty to Erdogan, Davutoglu said he had kept his party and the government intact during a tumultuous period and pledged that "strong" AKP government would continue. After a leadership meeting of the party founded and dominated by Erdogan, Davutoglu told reporters that, under the current circumstances, he would not run again for leader at an extraordinary party congress on May 22.
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday announced he was stepping down as ruling party chief and premier, in a shock resignation set to further boost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's growing powers. Divisions between Davutoglu and Erdogan that had been rumoured for months erupted into the open on Wednesday, with the two leaders holding crisis talks at the presidential palace that failed to resolve the conflict. Davutoglu said after a central executive committee of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that the party would hold an extraordinary congress on May 22 and he would not be standing for a new mandate.
By Rod Nickel ANZAC, Alberta (Reuters) - A massive wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, that has grown to five times its initial size has spread south, forcing more evacuations on Thursday after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation's energy heartland. The weather forecast has called for cooler temperatures and possible rain, offering hope that controlling the blaze could become easier.Map of the Fort McMurray fire - (http://tmsnrt.rs/1TtvIOD) Late Wednesday, flames fanned south from Fort McMurray, the main city in Canada's oil sands region. Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities, located about 50 km (31 miles) south of the battered city.