Doesn’t anybody wonder what Abdullah Gül thinks?
President Abdullah Gül told journalists covering his Kuwait trip last week that “the time has now arrived to talk about the presidency. The prime minister and I will get together and we will talk it over.”
Since that sentence was pronounced, and with the outcome of the March 30 elections, talks about the presidential elections have accelerated. Spokespeople of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) üand Cabinet ministers introduce a new scenario every day and disclose new formulas. But if you pay attention, all these scenarios, including those in newspaper columns, are based on one assumption: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will become the president and President Abdullah Gül will become the prime minister.
As a matter of fact, some of us have already elected Erdoğan as the president, and in order to make Abdullah Gül the prime minister, some have already made the one deputy from Bayburt resign and hold a by-election in this town to let Gül enter Parliament.
Those who do not want Erdoğan as the president have started their criticisms in advance, as if he has already been elected president. They are voicing their concerns that the Constitution may be subject to a change in the future and that a semi-presidential system will be introduced.
It looks as if one thing is being disregarded that would make all these scenarios and these speculations void. That is the possible future stance of President Abdullah Gül…
Firstly, Gül may wish to remain as president for five more years and may convey this to the prime minister. In such a case, how will Erdoğan respond?
Second, even if Gül, who currently occupies the presidential position, may have a longing to go back to daily politics when he delivered speeches from the top of buses and organizes rallies, he may think that this does not suit the office he has occupied for seven years. He may be thinking, “After being the president, it would not be correct to go back to town squares asking for votes.”
Obviously, nobody has thought of these two options. Indeed, there are other options that are not considered.
Will the AK Party want Gül?
Let us assume that Prime Minister Erdoğan runs for office and wins the election. He will take his oath on August 28, 2014 and ascend to the Çankaya Presidential Mansion to see off Abdullah Gül and his wife on the same day.
One of the first acts Erdoğan will have to do will be to appoint a prime minister. That prime minister will be among the current deputies; moreover, it is highly likely that this person will be selected from the current Cabinet.
Next comes the AK Party. There is a high probability that Deputy Chair Mehmet Ali Şahin will become acting chair for a while and then take the party to an extraordinary congress in the meantime.
The critical decision about the future of the country will be made in this congress. Of course, the party may invite Abdullah Gül, who is not even a party member at present. They may well say, “Come and lead us,” but they also may not …
A chair that the AK Party will elect for itself will be the leader of the party after Erdoğan. For this reason, the most important event of this fall will be the AK Party congress.
Indeed, do not forget that if Erdoğan does not become a presidential candidate, none of these scenarios will be experienced.