World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief advisor and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Yalçın Akdoğan has said there is no tension between the prime minister and the president over a presidential bid contrary to rumors in the media.
“I do not see any tension between the prime minister and the president. Yet, some people may be hoping for tension [between the two]. It is a big mistake to evaluate the relationship between the two over statements or political debates,” Akdoğan told a Turkish newspaper in an interview.
The deputy's remarks came in response to claims that Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül have been at odds since the president's press secretary stated earlier this week that Gül may run for a second term in office in the presidential elections scheduled for 2014.
There is growing public and political expectation that Erdoğan will run for the presidency in the 2014 elections and that he will make it to the Çankaya presidential palace. The prime minister has never made an implicit statement to this end, but has made indirect remarks to this effect on various occasions.
Gül's press secretary, Ahmet Sever, however, said Gül may pose his candidacy for president in the 2014 elections as he is eligible for re-election. Even though he said his remarks were an expression of his personal opinion only, political analysts said they also reflect the president's own position since such critical comments could not have been expressed without his approval.
According to Akdoğan, stirring debates over presidential elections while there are still two years ahead is “disrespectful” to both the prime minister and the president. “Mr. President will sit in his [presidential] chair for two more years. Expressing comments [about his bid to get re-elected] is disrespectful both to the president and the prime minister,” he said.
Ever since he was elected to the presidency in 2007, Gül, a former prime minister and foreign minister, has been working hard to reach out to all segments of society and to open the doors of the Çankaya presidential palace to the public. A mild and soft-spoken leader, Gül also assumes a mediating role among political parties, helping them reach consensus on national issues on which they are in disagreement.
The AK Party deputy also expressed criticism of Gül's press secretary over his remarks that Gül was saddened to hear that some members of the ruling party voiced the opinion that the president would not run for president for a second term. Akdoğan said there is no topic in Turkey that cannot be talked about or discussed.
When the Constitutional Court rejected in June an appeal filed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) requesting the annulment of a law limiting the presidential term to seven years for incumbent Gül and said the president is eligible to run for another term, some AK Party members said Gül is unlikely to announce that he will run in the 2014 presidential elections.
Akdoğan also added that neither Erdoğan nor Gül would need “messengers” to convey their messages on important issues to the public. “Statements made through messengers serve nothing other than to raise tension in the country,” he noted. According to Akdoğan, several recent public opinion polls suggest that the prime minister and the AK Party remain popular among Turks.