AKP looks to ‘persuade Gül’ to take up PM post
President Gül previously said he does not favor the ‘Putin-Medvedev model.’With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan set to declare his candidacy for the presidency, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has suggested that the more urgent question facing the government was convincing President Abdullah Gül to lead the party in the run-up to parliamentary elections in 2015.
“All of us would sacrifice ourselves for the good progress of this blessed movement,” Atalay said yesterday in an interview with the Kanal 7 channel, referring to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). “We are busy with this at the moment. Even the tiniest weakness should not emerge here. We have the 2015 elections ahead, and we should get out of it very strongly. We have to make this transition very safely.” There are 10 crucial months between August’s presidential elections and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2015.
“A formula which finds grounds in society and with which we will not have difficulty during the 2015 vote is needed,” Atalay said, defining the magic formula as a “Putin-Medvedev model” under which Gül and Erdoğan would swap roles.
But as early as April 18, Gül ruled himself out as a potential future prime minister, saying a “Putin-Medvedev model” was not suitable for Turkey. “Thus, here [with such formula], there is a powerful president and a powerful prime minister and party leader. Both of them will be powerful. The persuasion of Abdullah Bey and having him as the leader of our party again will make this election much more comfortable for us,” Atalay said.
A day before Atalay’s statement, a senior AKP executive said Erdoğan would be Turkey’s next president until 2023 and that Parliament would change the Constitution to bestow more powers on the office.
AKP Deputy Chair Mehmet Ali Şahin, also a former Cabinet minister, said May 31 that he expected his party to take more seats in a 2015 poll, enough to allow Erdoğan to remain the head of party.