ErdoIan blocks Gul’s bid to return to AK Party

ErdoIan blocks Gul’s bid to return to AK PartyIn the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s win in the Aug. 10 presidential election, President Abdullah Gul, whose political future has long been the subject of speculation, made a noteworthy announcement.

Gul said that he is planning to return to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), of which he used to be a member, after his presidential tenure is over andldquoI was a founder of this party, its first prime minister and president. Of course, I will return to my party when my presidency is over It is only natural for me,andrdquo Gul told reporters on Monday.

His statement appeared to contradict previous remarks he had made, saying he had no plans to return to politics under todayand#39s circumstances. At the same time that Gul made his Monday announcement, AK Party executives were meeting in Ankara At the end of the meeting, the partyand#39s spokesman, Huseyin elik, delivered a televised speech, shortly after Guland#39s remarks.

elik declared that the AK Party officials had agreed to hold a special congress on Aug. 27 to elect their new leader, who will replace ErdoIan as prime ministerelikand#39s statement was widely considered a response to Guland#39s comments about going back to the AK Party — based on a decision by ErdoIan — as the date set for the congress was just one day before Guland#39s presidency ends on Aug.

28. The timing means that Gul will not be able to attend the AK Party congress that will result in the election of its new leader When asked about the matter, elik denied comments that the timing is meant to block Guland#39s path to AK Party leadership, saying the date was andquotabout ErdoIanand#39s departure, not Guland#39s return.

andquotOn Tuesday evening, during the farewell reception hosted by Gul at the ankaya presidential palace, President-elect and Prime Minister ErdoIan said that there is no obstacle to the return of Gul to the ruling party, but added that the AK Party administration will not change until the next routine congress, which is slated for 2015. ErdoIanand#39s implication was that the president should not expect to occupy a significant position within the party until 2015.

Aug. 9, Saturday— Turkeyand#39s Defense Minister Ismet YIlmaz ruled out a Turkish military intervention against andldquoIslamic Stateandrdquo (IS) fighters in Iraq, speaking to reporters and said his country was not involved in US air strikes against the extremists near the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil.

— Police across Turkey were told to prevent the private Cihan news agency from covering Sundayand#39s presidential election, raising further suspicions about election security and transparency, the media revealed.— Mehmet Baransu, a journalist critical of the government, was briefly detained as part of the governmentand#39s growing crackdown on dissent and amid worries that the latest wave of detentions would include members of the media Baransu has stated via his Twitter account that he was beaten by policemen.

— The suspect accused of removing a Turkish flag at the DiyarbakIr 2nd Air Base Command in June was arrested. The removal of the flag unleashed a wave of anger against protesters in the restive Southeast.

Aug. 10, Sunday— A 35-year-old man was killed in Yalova province by a drug addict on the grounds that the victim was a follower of the faith-based Hizmet movement, against which the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan has declared war since last year, and because he was a critic of ErdoIan.

— Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who, along with the Hizmet movement, has been subjected to numerous attacks from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, said the movement will continue to perform its mission regardless of circumstances, in a video broadcast on the Herkul.org website.

— Turkish Bar Association (TBB) head Metin FeyzioIlu condemned recent overt interventions in judicial bodies by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, in a written statement.— A significant number of allegations of voter fraud were reported during the presidential election before the day drew to a close.

— The Cihan news agency, whose accuracy and speed in reporting election results has made it a top choice for Turkish media in election coverage over the past several years, was hit with a cyber attack, in what appears to have been an attempt to prevent the agency from covering the presidential election.— Main opposition Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin TanrIkulu demanded to know in a parliamentary question whether the Greek Land Forces have set up military posts on some disputed islands in the Aegean Sea— A group of Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) terrorists attacked a quarry and two construction sites, that of a military outpost and a hydroelectric power plant (HES), in the eastern province of MuI, setting construction equipment on fire.

Aug 11, Monday— Turkey evacuated four wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Turkey for treatment and is seeking to transfer 200 others through the air corridor that was established following intense diplomatic efforts.— Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikiand#39s insistence on maintaining his post has caused the turmoil in the country, adding that Iraq faced a coup attempt when security forces surrounded the presidential office.

— NATO would take all steps necessary to defend alliance member Turkey if it were threatened by IS fighters, who have made gains in neighboring Iraq and Syria, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.— The majority of the public does not approve of a recent government-backed operation targeting the police officers who took part in a probe into government corruption, a recent survey released by the polling company MetroPOLL found.

— In a written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry welcomed the three-day cease-fire in Gaza agreed over the weekend and underlined the importance of a sustainable cease-fire in order to ensure peace.Aug.

12, Tuesday— Two Nigerian passengers from a Turkish Airlines (THY) flight traveling from Lagos, Nigeria, to Istanbul were put under medical supervision on suspicions that they have the Ebola virus.— A group of writers called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan to apologize to Amberin Zaman, a correspondent for The Economist, whom he called andquotshamelessandquot and a andquotmilitantandquot for remarks she made that the prime minister condemned as an andquotinsultandquot to Muslims and members of his constituency.

— The secretary-general of Germanyand#39s Christian Social Union (CSU), Andreas Scheuer, expressed concern about the future of freedom and democracy in Turkey under the rule of President-elect Recep Tayyip ErdoIan and said that ErdoIanand#39s Turkey does not belong in the European Union.— Latent anger toward Syrian refugees in Turkey, who currently number around 15 million, erupted in the southern city of Gaziantep, where Syrian tenants allegedly killed their landlord.

— Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said Turkish journalist Leyla YIldIzhan, who is of Kurdish origin and uses the pseudonym Deniz FIrat, was killed in Iraq during clashes between andldquoIslamic Stateandrdquo (IS) and Kurdish peshmerga forces and demanded an inquiry into the circumstances of her death.— Security camera footage showing a person of undetermined gender killing two kittens on the street after midnight on Sunday in Istanbuland#39s Fatih district surfaced on social media, causing outrage among Turkeyand#39s animal rights activists.

— Nine miners, who were trapped in a coal mine in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak after part of the structure collapsed, were rescued after being trapped inside for several hours. The mine turned out to have been shut down by the state last year but continued its activity.

— Three Turkish nationals abducted by an unknown group in conflict-hit Libya were freed after more than 40 days in captivity.— According to a story reported by the news portal Rota Haber, the National Police Department drafted a secret report in June mostly based on stories in pro-government media which claim that Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen is the leader of a terrorist organization and is responsible for the wiretapping of a classified meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

— The CHP applied to the Chief Prosecutorand#39s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals to take legal and administrative measures against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, whom it alleged to be occupying the three posts of prime minister, president and leader of his party simultaneously after he was elected president on Sunday.— Following the election defeat of the presidential candidate jointly nominated by the leading opposition parties, some CHP deputies called on the partyand#39s leader, Kemal KIlIdaroIlu, to resign, blaming the management of the party for the election defeat.

— Turkey welcomed the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as Iraqi prime minister and called on Iraqand#39s political leaders to back his efforts to form a new government.— Police officers accused of spying on the AK Party government after participating in an investigation into government corruption filed a criminal complaint through their lawyers, complaining of rights violations during their detention as part of a government-backed operation.

Aug. 13, Wednesday— Officials from the Ministry of Health said two Nigerian passengers who were put under medical supervision at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on suspicions that they have the Ebola virus are in fact suffering from malaria— Deputy Prime Minister BeIir Atalay acknowledged that a new Prime Ministry complex is being constructed in an environmentally protected zone on the Ataturk Forestry Farm (AO) in Ankara on Wednesday.

— US President Barack Obama called President-elect and incumbent Prime Minister ErdoIan andldquoto congratulate him on his election as the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey and wish him well,andrdquo said a statement from the White House.— Foreign Minister DavutoIlu announced that New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin and photojournalist Adam Ferguson, who were injured in a helicopter accident in Iraq, have been brought to Turkey.

— The international rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Turkey has seen a very real erosion of human rights and the rule of law over the past two years as President-elect and incumbent Prime Minister ErdoIan has consolidated power— Ateizm DerneIi (Atheism Association) announced that it filed a lawsuit against Islamic scholar Dr Nihat HatipoIlu on the grounds that he violated the rights of atheists by accusing them of worshipping Satan on a TV show.— Stating that although the winner of the election was technically Prime Minister ErdoIan, the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) issued a statement saying, andldquoThe real winner is the Peopleand#39s Democratic Party [HDP] presidential candidate and Co-chairman Selahattin DemirtaI.

andrdquo— The andldquoIslamic Stateandrdquo (IS), which was formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), obtained support from Turkey in earlier phases of its growth in the Middle East, even though Turkish authorities are now cracking down on the extremist group, according to a Washington Post report.— It turned out that the Intelligence Unit of the Istanbul Police Department got a court ruling to monitor, for a period of three months in 2009, the email communications and Internet access of all people living in the provinces of Istanbul, Kocaeli, Sakarya, TekirdaI and Edirne, which are under the jurisdiction of specially authorized courts which were later abolished, without an ongoing investigation, the Hurriyet daily reported.

— The terrorist PKK announced its andldquodetentionandrdquo of 13 individuals suspected of membership of the terrorist andldquoIslamic Stateandrdquo (IS), who were trying to cross into Rojava, the Kurdish region of SyriaAug. 14, Thursday— An approximately 2,000-year-old tomb was found in Honaz, a district of the western province of Denizli.

— Faced with a smear campaign aimed at discrediting him, outgoing President Abdullah Gul bowed to pressure from circles close to President-elect ErdoIan and withdrew invitations to an upcoming reception that were extended to independent journalists who are critical of the government.— Out of the 17 police officers for whom an arrest warrant was issued last week, four were released while one police officer was arrested, after being questioned for approximately 40 hours.

— Deputy Prime Minister BeIir Atalay said there are around 1,700 Yazidis in Turkey and that Ankara decided to build a tent camp in the Iraqi city of Zakho for Yazidi refugees, as there is a possibility that that number may increase.— President-elect ErdoIan told reporters that the new prime minister would be announced on Aug.

21, when the AK Party will convene its Central Executive Board (MYK).Aug.

15, Friday — Governor Erdal Ata said that around 7,800 Syrian refugees living in the southeastern province of Gaziantep would be sent to tent cities in the province. — Turkish football club BeIiktaIand#39s honorary chairman, Suleyman Seba, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88, was laid to rest after funeral prayers at Istanbuland#39s Dolmabahe Mosque.

— Ecumenical Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, who officiated this yearand#39s Mother Mary service in Trabzonand#39s Sumela Monastery, called for peace in the Middle East. — Amid growing concerns over restrictions on the media, critical columnist YIlmaz zdil parted ways with the Hurriyet daily after the DoIan Media Group censored his column on corruption.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman