Europe responds positively to Gül's re-nomination

Several members of the European Parliament (EP) warmly welcomed Gul's re-nomination, saying 'Gul would be excellent president'. They dubbed Baykal as 'undemocratic'.

Europe responds positively to Gül's re-nomination

While European Union term president Portugal and the European Commission declined to comment on the re-nomination of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül for the presidency, several members of the European Parliament (EP) hailed the announcement.

The leader of the Liberal Group, Graham Watson, said Gül would be an excellent president. European Socialists argued that the Republican People's Party (CHP) has not received the message of the elections as it still refuses to meet with Gül during his presidential calls on political parties. Liberals, the third largest group in the EP, warmly welcomed Gül's re-nomination. Liberal leader Watson told Today's Zaman that Gül would be an excellent president and that he was very pleased to get the news that he had been re-nominated.Stressing that Gül could appeal both to Muslim traditionalists and secularists at the same time, Watson hoped this time there would be no objections to Gül's nomination. Criticizing Deniz Baykal's refusal to meet with Gül, Watson said this attitude was very unhelpful and demonstrated that Baykal had failed to recognize the rules of democracy. "Erdoğan got a very strong mandate from his people. This strong will should be respected both by the military and the CHP," said Watson, implying that Gül's presidency would be welcomed by Brussels.
Andrew Duff, a Liberal Democrat, member of the EP and vice chairman of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, said he was pleased with the announcement of Gül's second presidential bid. Stressing that it was only the natural reflection of the Turkish people's will as was made crystal clear in the July 22 elections, Duff said people were clearly expressing their support for Gül. "It is a perfectly correct conclusion," said Duff. Dubbing Baykal as "frankly silly," Duff argued that Baykal was drifting further away from the realities on the ground. Asked about his reaction to the news that the CHP would refuse to meet with Gül during his calls for the presidential election, Duff stressed that this would not be democratic behavior. "A parliamentary democrat needs to accept the right of their opponents to campaign. To refuse to recognize his candidacy and the election results is not a very democratic reaction," he said.

The vice chairman of the Socialist Group in the EP, Hannes Swoboda, said they would not want to see another political crisis in Turkey in which the CHP and the military would be involved. Swoboda said on the one hand he thought a candidate like Köksal Toptan, who became parliament speaker, would have been a better solution to avoid tension. However, on the other hand, he added that it was the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) right to pick the candidate they wanted. Swoboda said Gül is a very well-known and respected figure in Europe and that his election would be welcomed. Underlining that the military should not again intervene in the process, Swoboda said: "It is up to politics and political parties, not to the military to decide on the next president. Erdoğan has already softened his position by electing a centrist politician as [parliament speaker]." Commenting about the CHP not meeting with Gül, Swoboda said it was undemocratic. "Speaking is a necessity; it is a necessary basis for mature politicians. And Mr. Gül is a responsible politician, respected in Europe," he added.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 12:56
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