Week critical in shaping Turkish political scene

Turkish politics is preparing for a historical week. On Tuesday the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) presidential candidate, Abdullah Gül, will be voted in as the 11th president of Turkey in the third round of voting in Parliament.

Week critical in shaping Turkish political scene
Turkish politics is preparing for a historical week. On Tuesday the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) presidential candidate, Abdullah Gül, will be voted in as the 11th president of Turkey in the third round of voting in Parliament.


Gül, the second president of Turkey whose wife wears a headscarf, after the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, will reportedly be sworn in to office on the same day. Acting President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also made clear that the handing over of office ceremony will take place on the same day.

The AK Party, which feels that Turkey has lost enough time with the general and presidential elections, is pushing for a heavy agenda, and President Gül is expected to be presented with the list of the new Cabinet on his second day in office. The AK Party's expectation is to have the Cabinet approved by the new president outright. The new Cabinet will have to make its program ready to be announ-ced in Parliament by Friday.

AK Party sources had already said they are planning a vote of confidence session on Sept. 3, the first day of the following week.

This busy week will also see the appointment of the new staff of the Çankaya presidential palace. Possible names to be included in Gül's staff make it clear that Gül will be an extraordinary president with a say on foreign policy issues. While the peak of Turkish politics and bureaucracy is reshaped in just a single week, an Aug. 30 reception will bring the old and the new groups together. The reception, organized by the General Staff on Victory Day, will inescapably make headlines, whether or not Gül's covered wife Hayrunnisa Gül is invited.

Outgoing president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose term was extended, has been touring the ranks of the state hierarchy for a formal farewell since the likelihood of Gül's presidency has become a certainty. Last week he visited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Office of the Chief of General Staff and the heads of the country's highest courts. Acting President Sezer, who had preferred to work with bureaucrats closer to his thinking in the Çankaya presidential palace, is now taking his bureaucrats out with him. Those eligible to serve have requested retirement while those who will remain in the palace are those whose retirement age has not yet arrived.

Six bureaucrats are leaving

Six senior bureaucrats who were part of Sezer's team have decided to leave Çankaya along with him. Kemal Nehrozoğlu, who was responsible for a large part of Sezer's activities as president, is among those who are leaving. Reşat Şamiloğlu, the director of the Laws and Decisions Directorate, is also taking his leave. Bülent Serim, the presidency's assistant secretary general, will depart. Alpaslan Nazlıoğlu, who heads the Presidential State Audit Institution (DDK) and is known for being scrupulous about investigating the implementations of the AK Party government, as well as members Hıfzı Deveci and Kadir Sev, has also decided to join the outgoing president on his way out. All six men have submitted their letters of retirement. However, the three remaining members of the DDK are staying in the palace since they have not yet reached retirement age.

Acting President Sezer will be holding a reception for the bureaucrats retiring with him as part of the last stage of his farewell visits. The reception, most likely to be held today, will take place in the Rose Garden of the palace, a place many find meaningful since the new president Gül's last name in Turkish means rose.

President Sezer has 1,243 gifts registered to him, all of which were given to him during his presidency. The gifts the president will be leaving behind include 30 carpets, 13 rugs, 55 paintings, four copies of the Koran, four sets of pens, four rifles, 24 swords, axes and spears, four clocks and watches, seven medallions, four seals, 23 sculptures, 86 decorative pieces made of glassware and porcelain, 83 decorative pieces of glass, copper, soil or wood, 11 miniature models of various items, 16 plates, five silver platters, 22 vases, 15 boxes, 15 sets of silverware, one bag, nine pieces of jewelry, two masks, two chairs, one coffee table, one cupboard, one key to the city, one musical instrument, 77 flags, pins and brass memorials, 179 books, tapes, CDs, documents and brochures, 50 gifts made of fabric or cloth, 27 collectors' coins, 71 portraits and photographs as well as 396 items given to Sezer by visits to or from students in various cities.

Gül has schedule prepared

Meanwhile, Gül has also stepped up preparations for the Çankaya palace. The bureaucrats who are likely to be assigned positions there include Ahmet Davutoğlu, Ambassador Uğur Ziyal, Nabi Avcı, Ahmet Sever, Ambassador Gürcan Türkoğlu and Ambassador Naci Koru as well as Yüksel Öztürk, the head of the Prime Ministry's Laws and Decisions General Directorate and his primary aide, Safa Uslu.

Gül will be visiting Atatürk's mausoleum after the end of the Parliament's presidential vote on Tuesday. A ceremony involving 101 cannon shots will be held in Ankara and at some military bases.

The third round of the presidential vote, where Gül is most likely to get the 276 votes required for his presidency, will be held at 3 p.m. Gül is expected to go to the Foreign Ministry to complete his preparations after casting his vote.

Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 27 Ağustos 2007, 23:51
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