Gül's return to party is natural, Erdoğan says in farewell reception
Gül (R) addressed Erdoğan (C) as 'president-elect' for the first time in his farewell reception on Aug 12Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was elected as the country's 12th President on Aug. 10, has declared outgoing President Abdullah Gül's much-debated return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to be "natural."
"Nothing can be more natural than Abdullah Bey's return to his party, to our party. This step would be natural," Erdoğan said at a farewell reception hosted by Gül at the presidential mansion in Ankara's Çankaya neighborhood on Aug. 12.
Erdoğan, who will officially become President on Aug. 28, also stressed that "there is no obstacle" for Gül's return.
"Our party management will not change until the next regular congress. Only a new party leader will be elected. You know, there shouldn't be any gap in politics. And of course, it would also wrong to have two people, one as prime minister, one as party leader," he added in response to the latest speculations.
Hours after Gül signaled a return to politics in his party on Aug. 11, the AKP leadership had decided to convene an extraordinary congress on Aug. 27, a day before the official presidential handover. The timing has been widely interpreted as a deliberate move aimed at preventing outgoing Gül from immediately joining the party as leader, as the date rendered him ineligible, as a non-partisan president, to be nominated for the party chair.
"I believe that everything will fall into place in the future in our party," Erdoğan said.