AKP to convene in May for presidency
Nuray BABACAN ANKARA
Rumors that Gül and Erdoğan have already agreed on the terms of a Putin-Medvedev swap were denied by presidential spokesman on April 15.Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has announced plans to hold an extraordinary session next month solely to discuss the government’s strategy for August presidential elections amid much speculation over the party’s prospective candidate.
With stories swirling about the country’s future prospects if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is elected president in August, the AKP has announced plans for the May retreat at Lake Abant in Bolu so that the party’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) can discuss the matter.
Erdoğan, meanwhile, has urged his party not to fall into the trap of the opposition parties by focusing too much on the August elections while vowing that they party would not permit any instability during the run-up to August.
“We will never let the presidential elections turn into a crisis, as it was in the past. We will run the process gently and conclude it without allowing even the tiniest uncertainty in the country and without causing even the smallest risks for the economy and democracy,” Erdoğan told deputies yesterday during a parliamentary group meeting. “Following the presidential elections, we wish to hold the 2015 parliamentary elections in full peace and in the spirit of democratic culture and maturity. We will sincerely struggle for this.”
Recalling what he called a coup attempt against his government that was launched on Dec. 17, 2013, only four months before the local elections, Erdoğan urged his group to be vigilant against similar actions on the eve of the presidential elections, the first under which the country’s head of state will be elected by popular vote. “Those who would re-stage such a coup before the presidential elections will surely get their responses from the people.”
Gül denies agreement
Since the conclusion of the March 30 local polls, there has been speculation that Erdoğan will run for presidency and that President Abdullah Gül will become the AKP chairman and future prime minister.
But rumors that Gül and Erdoğan have already agreed on the terms of a Putin-Medvedev swap were denied by presidential spokesman Ahmet Sever in a written statement yesterday.
“So far, Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister have absolutely not talked about presidential elections and issues concerning the post-election period. A meeting where these issues will be discussed will soon take place. As such, news reports and scenarios do not reflect the truth,” he said.
YSK announces calendar
Erdoğan’s warning came the same day the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced its final calendar for the presidential elections.
As Gül’s mandate will terminate on Aug. 28, the YSK said the first round of polls would be conducted on Aug. 10 and in the event that no candidate scores a majority of the votes in the first round, a second round will be held on Aug. 24.
The presidential elections will mark another first as Turkish people living abroad will also be able to vote to elect the next president. Polling stations will be available in more than 60 countries, while the first round of elections will take place between July 31 and Aug. 3 and the second round between Aug. 17 and 20 for Turks living abroad.