News / Middle East

Turkey's PM, President Maneuver for Power

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (May 21, 2012).Turkish President Abdullah Gul (May 21, 2012).
x
Turkish President Abdullah Gul (May 21, 2012).
Turkish President Abdullah Gul (May 21, 2012).
Dorian Jones
Turkey appears to be witnessing a new rivalry between its prime minister and president.  Although both are founding members of Turkey's ruling party, increasingly the two men appear to be at odds with one another on a variety of political issues.  The rivalry could have far-reaching consequences for the country.
 
The Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, has in the past few months been challenging what is perceived as the increasingly tough positions of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whether on the treatment of the country’s Kurdish minority, imprisoned journalists or advocating membership in the European Union.  Last month Erdogan voiced his frustration.
 
He said Turkey is not ruled by double-headed governance and he said the country will go nowhere with double-headed rule.
 
Yuksel Taskin, associate professor of politics at Marmara University, is an expert on the ruling AK party to which both men belong.  He says President Gul is reacting to growing concern within the country by the increasingly tough stances of the prime minister.

"President Gul is trying to have a moderate image.  Erdogan, his hard line image only creates sympathy in some nationalist circles, but the rest of the people are becoming increasingly skeptical of his leadership style, especially certain influential circles such as liberals circles, and the business community in the western parts of Turkey in particular," said Taskin.
 
Taskin says the prime minister's hardline stance is a bid to court nationalist’s votes in the 2014 presidential elections, in which he is widely expected to run.  Erdogan has also made it clear he wants to turn Turkey into a presidential system, and to do that he will need the parliamentary votes of the Nationalist Action Party.

Asli Aydintasbas, a political commentator for the Turkish Sky News Channel, says Prime Minister Erdogan’s aspirations are another factor behind the growing rivalry between the prime minister and president.

"Gul is a candidate for the job of the prime minister, but not if Erdogan will go up to become a president and extends his powers so much that the prime minister will be just a figurehead.  The way they are negotiating is through these roundabout statements and policy statements basically," said Aydintasbas.
 
Aydintasbas predicts the ongoing rivalry is likely to deepen.  Speculation is now growing whether President Gul will challenge Erdogan in the 2014 presidential elections.  Taskin of Marmara University says that is unlikely.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.
x
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a forum in Istanbul, October 13, 2012.
"I don’t think he will stand as a rival to Erdogan; he would lose.  Supporters of Gul’s power in the party, in the AKP, has been broken down.  They don’t exist in the party structure, so President Gul does not have a power base in the party," he said.
 
Observers point out that without a national political party, it would be extremely difficult for President Gul to run a presidential campaign in a country the size of Turkey against a charismatic campaigner like Erdogan.  But some recent opinion polls indicate the president has a strong lead against Prime Minister Erdogan.

Kadri Gursel, political columnist for the newspaper Milliyet, says if the prime minister continues pursuing a hard line, the resulting divisions could give birth to a new powerful movement in Turkey that could re-elect Gul as president.

"Only a coalition of political and social forces can stop him [Erdogan].  If some fragments of existing political regroupings, coalitions would rally behind Gul and Gul would be happy with them, this can turn to be a new reform movement," said Gursel.
 
President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan have dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, and until now they have been powerful allies.  But that alliance appears increasingly under strain, if it should break, observers say it will have far-reaching consequences for Turkish politics.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: marcus from: germany
November 29, 2012 12:38 AM
as far as ı know both of them are good for advence of turkey. of course there may be different ideas and challenges in democratic countries. we must to see that whoever will be president Turkey is standing with strong democracy.

by: Nahum F from: Israel
November 25, 2012 10:01 PM
The current PM of Turkey has showed himself to be unwise and even amusingly bad at reading reality. Also a disaster for Israel.
Would Mr. Abdullah Gul be better ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More