Gül setting up a new team for Çankaya

Discussions over the identity of the new president are being replaced by speculation over the incoming president's team.

Gül setting up a new team for Çankaya

Discussions over the identity of the new president are being replaced by speculation over the incoming president's team.

Gül is expected to take his own aides to the presidential palace. The team members who will be the "president's men" include Gül's confidants from his time as the head of Turkey's 58th government.

Speaking to Today's Zaman, a figure close to Gül who played a critical role in the preparation of the "president's men" list noted that Gül would exclude current Interior Minister Osman Güneş, whom he had considered as a replacement for Secretary-General of the Presidency Kemal Nehruzoğlu because of a recent incident that has become known as the "risotto crisis."

Risotto crisis eliminates Güneş's chances

Interior Minister Güneş reportedly lost his chance to become the Presidency's secretary-general following the risotto crisis. The term of Güneş, who was appointed interior minister to replace Abdülkadir Aksu following the decision to hold early elections on July 22, will end when the new Cabinet is formed. Güneş was among the leading confidants of Gül as foreign minister.

Shortly before he left office, a tragicomic discussion erupted about Güneş. Newspapers headlined a report indicating that Güneş removed Muğla Governor Temel Koçaklar from office because he was offered risotto prepared with wine at an official dinner in Bodrum. An official statement by the Interior Ministry responded to the allegations, noting that Koçaklar was not removed from office because of the cited incident. The ministry further clarified the matter, stressing that Koçaklar was brought back to ministerial headquarters because the former governor, Lütfi Yeğenoğlu, would reassume office as governor following a court decision. However, the risotto crisis ended any chance of Güneş becoming an important presidential palace bureaucrat.

The post of secretary-general at the Presidency is considered to be important. For instance, the presidential palace was closed to journalists after Nehruzoğlu assumed the post during the term of 10th President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Sezer was more open to the public during his first years as president, when he was working with Tacan İldem. When Nehruzoğlu became secretary-general, Sezer turned into a leader more distant from the people. The fact that Nehruzoğlu granted pardons to 289 inmates has frequently been used in accusations against Sezer. Of these pardons, 78 percent were convicted of terror-related crimes while some were killed in clashes with security forces shortly after being released from prison.

Uğur Ziyal's chances increase

Gül was previously expected to appoint an ambassador or a governor for the post to replace Nehruzoğlu. Now that Güneş is out of the game, Ambassador to Rome Uğur Ziyal's chances for the post have increased. Ziyal played a key role in the preparation of the March 1 motion and the Annan plan. If Ziyal is appointed secretary-general, bilateral relations with the US will likely deteriorate because of his alleged role in the rejection of the said motion. Despite this negative, Ziyal has a lot of positives in his record, including his renowned personality displayed while serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Yet, some argue that Gül may want to work with a governor. In this case, Amasya's Governor Celalettin Lekesiz will most probably become secretary-general.

The list includes Ambassador Ahmet Davutoğlu, who served as the chief advisor to Gül and Erdoğan in the previous term. Despite that, he has said he misses being an academic. Sources close to Gül who spoke to Today's Zaman said Gül would not give up on Davutoğlu and that the latter would not resist the new president. Gül, expected to be a proactive president, will need the support of Davutoğlu, who is known for his expertise in international affairs.

The list of the president's men also includes Professor Nabi Avcı, who will serve as the second-best man. Avcı was chief advisor to Gül during his term as prime minister. A former journalist and a poet, Avcı is known for his liberal views and conservative lifestyle. The list will most probably include Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Kayseri deputy Taner Yıldız, a long-time confidant of Gül.

Journalist Ahmet Sever, who served as advisor to Gül during his brief tenure as prime minister, is also on the list. Sever, expected to be appointed head of the Presidency Press Center, became advisor to Gül after spending years in Brussels as a journalist. Sever, still affiliated with the Doğan Media Group, will keep advising Gül on EU affairs.

The list will most probably include two diplomats: Ambassador Gürcan Türkoğlu, chief advisor to Gül during his tenure as foreign minister, and Ambassador to Riyadh Naci Koru. Both will accompany Gül at the presidential palace, sources note. Undersecretary to the Office of the Prime Minister Emin Lekesiz is also considered for inclusion in Gül's list if he is not definitively appointed to the post. Gül's principal clerk, Safa Uslu, will definitely accompany him to the presidential palace.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 22 Ağustos 2007, 16:43
Add Comment