Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan held their first meeting on 24th April to discuss the upcoming presidential elections at the same time both ruled out a political crisis as they were about to make critical decisions.
“Discussions [on the presidential elections] are only natural. Such discussions happen to be in places where pluralism exists. What is important is that these discussions should take place in respect to the acknowledged rules [of elections]. The rules for the upcoming presidential elections are explicit. There should not be any sort of risk of unpredictability for Turkey,” Gul said in his address at the 100th year of the foundation of the Adana Stock Exchange yesterday.
The president recalled that Turkey had proved its maturity in holding elections and will continue to do so and has therefore asked businessmen not to be overly concerned about the presidential elections. Gul’s comments run parallel with the continuing debate as to who might replace PM Erdogan if he decides to run for the presidency in August this year.
Gul had said he has no political plans for future under current conditions, implying that he will not accept the role of Erdogan’s “puppet prime minister” if Erdogan should be elected as president.
Erdogan denies that there is any problem between him and the president and emphasised that the issue of leadership will be solved without creating upheaval in Turkey.
Meanwhile, the two leaders met late yesterday for routine meetings and held an initial discussion about the issue. Erdogan said that they will probably hold a more comprehensive discussion in May, following the completion of his consultation with his party.
The prime minister has not made a decision yet about running for the presidency however, his party (AKP) have shown great support for the idea, saying that he has the right to become president. Nevertheless, there are a few party delegates who believe Erdogan should keep his post as prime minister to ensure a win at the polls in next year’s parliamentary elections.
President Gul, a co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party, was regarded as the only figure of sufficient weight to challenge Erdogan. There was wide speculation that the two men might swap jobs this summer until Gul’s recent statement that he had no political plans – for now at least.