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LOCAL > Gül, Erdoğan engage in proxy presidential row

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2011 file photo shows Turkish President Abdullah Gül (R) and PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a military event in Istanbul. Responding to a question if he will consider to re-run for the presidency, Gül says it is too early to make comments on the issue.  AA Photo

This 2011 file photo shows Turkish President Abdullah Gül (R) and PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a military event in Istanbul. Responding to a question if he will consider to re-run for the presidency, Gül says it is too early to make comments on the issue. AA Photo

A proxy debate has been sparked over the presidential system, with contrasting statements coming from different senior members of the government, including those close to Gül.

A spokesperson for President Abdullah Gül has said he might run for another presidential term, while a senior Justice and Development Party (AKP) official said Gül would make “a gesture,” by not running for presidency in the upcoming elections. Gül, however, has said it is too early to comment on his plans.
In an interview published in daily Vatan yesterday, presidential spokesperson Ahmet Sever said Gül might run for the presidency again. Although Sever highlighted that this was only his personal view, the remarks still led to concerns over a possible clash between Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the run-up to the next presidential elections.

“In this process, there have been developments which were very saddening for Mr. President,” Sever was quoted by Vatan as saying, in an apparent reference to a recent Constitutional Court decision on the 2014 presidential elections and the debate surrounding this ruling. “This is my personal view, the Constitutional Court has made this decision, but he [Gül] may well run for the presidency again, why not?” Sever said.

Meanwhile, Gül has said that “for now it was too early to make a comment on his [plans for] re-election [within the] presidency,” in a meeting closed to the press, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

President Gül welcomed a number of visitors to his Istanbul office yesterday, including Güneş Taş, head of the Taxi Drivers’ Foundation. Taş told the Daily News that he had asked Gül if he was thinking of becoming a candidate for president one more time, and that Gül had kindly answered the question by saying: “it is too early to speak on this matter for now.”

Emphasis on ‘brotherhood’

In response to the interview with Ahmet Sever, the AKP’s Hüseyin Çelik maintained yesterday that Gül would make “a gesture” by not running for the presidency again in the upcoming elections. “It would be called a gesture, if he [Gül] stepped back from being a candidate again,” Çelik was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet.

Back in 2002, when the ruling party first swept to power, Gül served as stand-in prime minister as Erdoğan was banned from politics due to a 1998 court ruling.

In 2007, Gül ran for president despite the military’s objection, while Erdoğan stepped aside for Gül by presenting him as “my brother,” in a sign of his full support for Gül’s presidential candidacy.

“There is a deep brotherhood and friendship between Gül and Erdoğan, which cannot be jeopardized for any office,” Çelik said on his Twitter account earlier in the day.

“The feeling of full mutual trust has been tested many times in the past. Some may not understand this friendship. We may feel out of place [about this friendship] because there is not much precedent in our political past,” Çelik said.

July/31/2012

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Faruk Timuroglu

7/31/2012 11:46:15 PM

As Neo-Ottomans getting closer to victory, infighting for booty mounts. Destruction of the secular republic is almost done. First, PM Erdogan and the Imam in Pennsylvania started to tussle for the crown. Yet, only President Gül, the gentle mannered hero of the war, who passed through all dangerous hurdles in front of Erdogan, opening the way for him, now has the power to stop him from doing more harm. Should Mr. Gül choose his brother or his country?

mara mcglothin

7/31/2012 3:21:22 PM

Gul is the only statesman that Turkey has at this point, AND if the Presdiential office remains the same, then he is the best man for the job, BUT should the system be changed during the constitutional process then neither man can be a true president. While GUL talks a mean game, he is still from the backward mentality that will not earn Turkey any respect on the World stage.

Agnes Smith

7/31/2012 1:52:42 PM

We seem to be on the same page about Gul. But isn't it the case the rough diamond (as Sam says) is what 50% of the electorate equate to. They admire his bolshiness, outspoken, ego driven nature. You get what yu deserve. For most its about football and putting bread on the table for their family.. They are not really driven to seek democratic change, coz they don't understand the concept. Gul would be a better PM to inforce social advancement but that would be a threat for current PM.

Rimon Tree

7/31/2012 11:58:39 AM

All mxy god wishes go to decent and well-behaving Gül! Hope he might restore Turkeys bad reception in the West.

sam stevens

7/31/2012 11:00:29 AM

I'm afraid no friendship is stronger than ambition..... especially in politics. I sincerely hope Gul runs for the position, as Michael J has said,he is far better suited to the job. I'm afraid the present PM is a rough diamond lacking any diplomacy skills,he may have done well for Turkey economically,but his time is finished,now Turkey needs a more refined presence on the world stage.

Michael Johnson

7/31/2012 7:32:39 AM

Gul would be infinitely better suited for the job than Erdogan. Gul brings class and thoughtful sensitivity to the position, unlike his mentor. I'm no AKP fan, but Gul is a true statesman, whereas the current PM is not.

Aliriza Bolat

7/31/2012 12:15:51 AM

İts nothing but talk they already no how many votes and who will be put there next vote .
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