Erdoğan tight-lipped on İhsanoğlu’s candidacy, AKP nominee to be announced at end of June
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, June 17. AA PhotoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has refused to comment on the nomination of Ekmelettin İhsanoğlu as the joint opposition presidential candidate, simply stating that the “most valuable evaluation” will be made by the people in the election.
“I do not need to talk about this issue. The candidates are not registered yet. We’ll see at the [election] rallies and we’ll talk about it. The best assessment will be made by the people. Let’s leave this issue to the people,” Erdoğan told reporters on June 16, declining to comment further on the nomination of İhsanoğlu.
İhsanoğolu was elected as the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2004 during the first Erdoğan government. Erdoğan and the then Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül had exerted great effort for his election as the head of the world’s second largest international organization after the U.N.
Upon questions regarding the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, the prime minister said the process was still ongoing and that it could last until end of the month. “Let’s first see the opposition’s candidate. We have time until July 3,” he said.
“Our consultations continue. This week we’ll have a meeting with non-governmental organizations at the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges [TOBB]. And then we will have another one with the Turkish Tradesmen’s and Artisans’ Confederation [TESK]. I may also consider visiting some political parties who are not represented at Parliament,” Erdoğan added.
When he was asked whether his consultations with President Abdullah Gül were continuing, he confirmed that they were without giving any details.
Erdoğan heads to Austria and France
The prime minister also plans to visit two European countries with large Turkish populations over the weekend.
He will first go to Austria on June 19 and then to France on June 20, where he will address Turks living in both countries, who will for the first time be able to cast their votes in presidential elections.
Erdoğan will also hold talks with senior officials from both countries, and is expected to meet French President François Hollande in Paris on June 20 before addressing a rally in Lyon on June 21.