Former President Gül says he favors parliamentary over presidential system

Former President Gül says he favors parliamentary over presidential system

LONDON – Anadolu Agency
Former President Gül says he favors parliamentary over presidential system

Former President Abdullah Gül during a panel organized by the British think-tank Chatham House, Nov. 25. AA Photo

Speaking at a panel at London’s Chatham House think tank, Turkey’s 11th President Abdullah Gül said that although he favored the parliamentary system over the presidential system, the most important issue for states is a “system of checks and balances.”

“Everybody knows that I consider the parliamentary system to be more appropriate, but of course you cannot say the presidential system is undemocratic. What’s important is the system of checks and balances. Could we say the U.S. is not democratic [because it’s a presidential system]? Its checks and balances and institutions are in place. As long as democracy in a country is ensured, it is the nation’s choice whether the presidential system or the parliamentary system is appropriate,” he said, at the panel titled “Reflections on Turkey and the Wider Region” on Nov. 25.

Gül, who was awarded the 2010 Chatham House Prize, served as Turkey’s president from 2007 to 2014 and stepped down from the presidency in August, after the new head of state was elected by popular votes for the first time in the country’s history. Former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected as the Turkey’s 12th president and will stay in power until 2019.

Answering questions at the London-based international affairs think tank, Gül also said he believed there was “unfair focus” in the foreign media on Turkey’s contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“Turkey is the place to which about two million people came after fleeing Syria. This should not be ignored,” said Gül, adding that Turkey also expected more financial assistance for taking care of the huge numbers of Syrian refugees.

Responding to a question about a possible independent Kurdish state in Iraq, Gül said he believed a proclamation of independence by the Kurdish region in Iraq would “further push the region to instability.” He described the dropping of the referendum question from the agenda as a “positive development” and added that it was pleasing to see recent moves to solve the disagreements over oil and gas in Iraq.

While in London, Gül also attended the publicity meeting of his biography, “Abdullah Gül and the Making of the New Turkey,” written by Gerald MacLean. He said he was happy that the book had been published, describing it as “not only a biography but also a comprehensive analysis of Turkey’s new history.”