Felicity Party leader to meet former President Abdullah Gül

Felicity Party leader to meet former President Abdullah Gül

Felicity Party leader to meet former President Abdullah Gül

Felicity Party (SP) Leader Temel Karamollaoğlu is to meet Turkey’s former President Abdullah Gül whose possible candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections has been at the center of attention in Ankara, as negotiation works between opposition parties has accelerated.

Karamollaoğlu and Gül are scheduled to meet at 13:30 in Istanbul.

As a leader of the traditional religious conservative party SP, Karamollaoğlu had been in contact with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party in a bid to form alliances and determine candidates to run against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the June 24 elections.

The SP is a consequent party of the National Outlook Movement (Milli Görüş) where prominent founding members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been actively involved before forming the ruling party.

Being one of the founding leaders of the AKP, Gül had served within AKP governments as a minister and prime minister before becoming Turkey’s 11th president between 2007 and 2014. Gül’s last years in office as president frequently marked important disagreements with Erdoğan, who was serving as a prime minister in consecutive AKP governments at the time.

He is believed to have some backing from conservative and moderate political groups but he has not yet given any signal for his potential nomination.

Meanwhile, he appeared alongside Karamollaoğlu in an award ceremony in tribute to former Milli Görüş leader Necmettin Erbakan on April 25.

According to daily Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, the SP wants to present Gül as a joint candidate of the opposition against Erdoğan “as Gül has conditioned his candidacy as a joint-candidate.”

However, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener firmly stated on April 24 that she will be the candidate from her party and reiterated that her party supports every party to present their own candidates in the first round of the presidential elections.

Akşener is also set to meet CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on April 25, as meetings between opposition parties continue.

But it has been reported that some lawmakers within the CHP have opposed to Gül being nominated as a joint candidate.

CHP lawmaker for the western province of Yalova Muharrem İnce told daily Habertürk columnist Nagehan Alçı on April 25 that he would not support Gül in the event that he runs for president.

“He had served as a president for seven years and he did not veto any law. He just did things in their [AKP] way. Is that right? If I were to choose between [Erdoğan and Gül] I would choose Erdoğan,” he said.