Turkish President Gül rules out becoming 'Erdoğan's Medvedev'
Turkish President Abdullah Gül ruled out swapping seats with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the upcoming elections, saying that Russia’s “Putin-Medvedev” formula is not suitable for Turkey, speaking to press on April 18.
“I believe the Putin-Medvedev formula wouldn’t be a completely suitable model in Turkey,” Gül said during a visit to the inner Aegean province of Kütahya.
Gül had been seen as a potential future prime minister with Erdoğan as head of state. After Gül’s remarks, the question as to who will replace Erdoğan if he runs for the presidency in the August election remains.
Russia’s current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev replaced Vladimir Putin as president in 2008, while Putin became prime minister. They swapped roles in 2012.
When asked about the presidential election, Gül said he has no “plans for the future.”
“I don’t have any political plan for the future under today’s circumstances,” Gül told reporters.
Stressing he “can’t talk openly about certain subjects as he is currently the president,” Gül said: “I said we would speak and discuss about [the presidential elections] with our friends and we will make a decision. Turkey is a mature country. The future of Turkey will always be bright.”
Gül’s remarks could be seen as a refusal for a possible return to the Prime Ministry, but also a nod to continue as president. In Turkish politics, the presidency is regarded as a non-political office, as opposed to the Prime Ministry.
Erdoğan told reporters after Friday prayers he had not heard Gül’s words and would not comment before speaking with the president directly. Meanwhile, he told a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on April 18 that his party “hadn’t made any decision regarding the presidency yet.”
Erdoğan told his lawmakers on April 16 that he was still undecided as to whether he would pursue the presidency, but vowed to use the full powers given by the Constitution if he is elected head of state in the popular vote.
As Gül’s mandate will terminate on Aug. 28, the Supreme Election Board (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.
'Refusal of PM post'
Some political commentators see Gül’s remarks as a refusal for a possible return to the Prime Ministry, but perhaps also a nod to continue as president. In Turkish politics, the presidency is regarded as a non-political office as opposed to the Prime Ministry.
“Gül is leaving the issue of continuing as president to an agreement with Prime Minister Erdoğan, but he rules out becoming prime minister himself ‘under today’s circumstances.’ The most important element here is Erdoğan’s latest remarks that vow to use the full powers given by the Constitution if elected President. As the decider, Erdoğan can still offer Gül a second term as President,” Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin said.
“The first impression is that Gül wants to be candidate for presidency again, but I don’t think that it’s possible without an agreement with Erdoğan, because Gül always says he will speak to Erdoğan about this issue,” Hürriyet columnist Yalçın Doğan said.
The presidential elections will mark another first as Turkish citizens living abroad will also be able to vote to elect the next president. Polling stations will be available in more than 60 countries, with the first round of elections taking place between July 31 and Aug. 3 and the second round between Aug. 17 and 20 for Turks living abroad.