AKP ‘home’ for former president Gül, Turkish PM says

AKP ‘home’ for former president Gül, Turkish PM says

AKP ‘home’ for former president Gül, Turkish PM says Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has supported President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s endorsement for the return of former President Abdullah Gül to the ruling party.

“This party is his own home. We publicly invited him and we also do not shy away from taking more special steps [to make Gül return to politics],” Davutoğlu told a group of journalists aboard Turkey’s official aircraft TC-TUR when returning from a visit to the United States on March 7.

Erdoğan said March 6 that it would be “felicitous and propitious” if Gül declared his candidacy to run in the upcoming general elections scheduled for June 7, as sources said the two founders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would soon meet to discuss the issue.

Gül’s potential decision to run for parliament has created a ripple of excitement among the senior officials of the AKP who have been feeling alienated from the new leadership of the party.

Erdoğan’s surprise move triggered speculation that he mulls using Gül as a potential replacement for Davutoğlu, with whom he disagreed about the resignation of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan.

On the way back to Ankara on March 7, Davutoğlu stressed the reputability of Gül among the founders of the party, as well as “fidelity,” noting that he first became acquainted with the former president in the early 1980s.

“We have such a deep-rooted relationship that we come to the ultimate conclusion that we cannot sacrifice it for anything,” Davutoğlu said, adding that he would not feel any “discomfort” if Gül returned to politics.