Gul says candidacy in presidential elections not yet settled

ANKARA (CIHAN)- In response to recently circulated rumors that President Gul would agree to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan’s candidacy for presidential elections, Gul has signalled that the issue of selecting a presidential candidate within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has not yet been settled.

“Nobody [in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)] should think at the moment that this [candidacy] is in my pocket,” President told reporters on Wednesday.

It was claimed by some outlets in the Turkish media on Tuesday that in a meeting with ErdoIan last week, Gul, who is also from the ruling party, had agreed to PM’s running for president in the upcoming presidential elections.
Noting that it is the people who will, in the final analysis, will decide who will get elected president, Gul said during a press meeting at the Çankaya Presidential Palace: “I said [earlier] that we would take the issue up with Prime Minister. We will soon take it up. This is of course an issue about us. Some other candidates would also appear.” “What I think [on the issue] will also certainly be important,” President added.

In some media reports, Gul was claimed to have ceded to ErdoIan for candidacy and that he would fight, after leaving office in August, for the ruling party’s chairmanship in an extraordinary party congress expected to be held in September or October. Based on the scenario, Gul would then first get elected deputy in the general elections scheduled to be held in June next year and prime minister, should the AK Party emerge victorious as expected.

— Ruling party to determine presidential candidate toward end of May

The ruling party announced on Wednesday the party’s candidate would be determined towards the end of May after carefully measuring the public opinion and the party’s delicate balances.

The same day, ErdoIan got together, in the AK Party headquarters in the capital, in a first intra-party deliberations and extensive debates with the party’s deputies over the presidential election to be held in August. The party said it will hold series of party meetings over its candidate while PM ErdoIan poised to make his decision whether to run or not in the presidential race.

In the meeting that nearly lasted three hours, AK Party deputies were handed out a form in which they were asked to write down the names of three people whom they would desire to run for president.

AK Party deputy Iamil Tayyar said mobile phones of the deputies were collected before the meeting, Yeni Iafak daily web page reported. “Such [intra-party] consultations will continue. Prime Minister will make up his mind following deliberations with delegates, mayors [of the party], non-governmental organizations,” Tayyar added.
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) signaled that the party may come up with a presidential candidate of its own in the first round of presidential elections to be held on August 10. Co-chairwoman of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) recently said the HDP, with which the BDP is expected to merge into a single party in May, has a tendency to nominate its own presidential candidate.

In a recent statement, BDP Group Deputy Chairman Pervin Buldan said the BDP is yet to decide whether to support the AK Party candidate in the second round of presidential election. “I believe, the steps we will take are related to the steps the government will take [in connection with the settlement process],” Buldan said. “Kurds votes [for AK Party’s candidate] should not be taken for granted,” she added.

In the presidential race in which Turkey will for the first time elect a president by popular vote, BDP voters’ support is crucial for ErdoIan whose AK Party got 43 percent of the votes in the local elections at the end of March.

The candidate who obtains more than half of the votes in the first round of the election will be elected president. If none of the candidates manage to obtain more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, then the two candidates with the most votes in the first round will compete in a runoff. The candidate who receives the most votes in the second leg will be elected president and serve a five-year term.


Presidents Gul and Berzins come to the press conference room
VAR of Gul’s statements