Support coalition gov’t, not snap poll, Gül tells Turkish PM
Deniz Zeyrek - ANKARAFormer Turkish President Abdullah Gül has warned both his successor Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about possible negative consequences of a snap election, suggesting that a collation government would be an “appropriate” move.
The national and international conjuncture suggests the formation of a coalition government between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Gül reportedly told both Erdoğan and Davutoğlu.
Gül initiated a telephone conversation with Erdoğan late on June 11, daily Posta newspaper reported on June 12, noting that he had already called Davutoğlu “right after” the election, without elaborating on the exact time of the latter telephone conversation.
“Do not arrive at different conclusions from these conversations. Of course, they are in a better position to assess the situation. I shared my conviction that forming a collation would be right, but certainly it is our friends who will eventually make the best decision,” Gül told reporters on June 12 as he was leaving a mosque in Istanbul following Friday prayers.
“I only encouraged them. Other than that, anything else is out of the question for me,” he added.
Both Gül and Erdoğan are co-founders of the ruling AKP, and the latter feverishly campaigned for the party before the election. The AKP ended up losing its parliamentary majority and now the country is passing through a period of uncertainty regarding whether a coalition government will be formed or a snap election will be held.
‘Election is risky’
Gül reportedly said “the people’s choice” in the election revealed a number of multi-party coalition government options.
“Turkey needs the fulfillment of one of these options,” he said.
Cautioning about risks that could emerge in the event of a snap election, Gül suggested that the AKP, which won most votes by far, could move forward by forming a strong coalition government.
According to the results of the June 7 election, the AKP will have 258 seats in the 550-seat parliament, the CHP will have 132 seats, and the MHP and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will have 80 seats apiece.
‘Stronger with the CHP’
Gül told Davutoğlu that he should try all coalition options, but also emphasized that the most appropriate option for the AKP was the CHP, according to sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
The former president reportedly believes that with broad-based parliamentary support, and with endorsement from both inside and outside the country, such a coalition could make a lot of democratic reforms.
He also said that even if a snap election was held, the results could again require the formation of a coalition government.
No plan to return to politics for now
Meanwhile, his inner circle has stated that Gül has no plan to run for the leadership of the AKP in the upcoming party congress due to be held in August. Commenting on his contacts with Erdoğan and Davutoğlu within the framework of such a plan would be wrong, they added.
Nevertheless, observers speculate that if negotiations for the formation of a coalition between the AKP and the CHP fail to yield results, and if Erdoğan and the AKP grassroots deliver a strong call, Gül could step back into the political arena.