News / Europe

Turkey's Erdogan, Gul Face Political Showdown

In this Aug. 12, 2014 photo, released by Turkish officials, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, left, and president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan stand pose for photos during a farewell reception for Gul in Ankara, Turkey.
In this Aug. 12, 2014 photo, released by Turkish officials, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, left, and president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan stand pose for photos during a farewell reception for Gul in Ankara, Turkey.
Dorian Jones

Outgoing Turkish president Abdullah Gul has made it clear that he intends to stay in politics. 

The long time ally of President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now increasingly seen as a political rival and even threat to Erdogan. But to his supporters, Gul is seen as a force of moderation amid growing concerns over the direction the country is heading.
 
The last few days of Gul's tenure have been marked by controversy. The pro-government media that often supports him has launched a sustained attack against him, accusing him of betraying Erdogan.

That prompted Gul's wife Hayrunnisa to criticize the journalists and declare a fight against her husband's growing number of critics from the ruling AK party.

Gul and Erdogan have been political comrades since the 1990s. But Assistant Professor Yuksel Taskin of Istanbul's Marmara University says the political partnership that dominated Turkish politics for decades is at an end.
 
"There is a tension between Gul and Erdogan, because clearly he [Gul] had the expectation he would be the prime minister again," Taskin said. "However, Erdogan had an idea to purge the founders of the party and implant a new group of politicians in their late thirties and early forties. I don't think Gul is happy with Erdogan's leadership."
 
Erdogan's decision not to choose Gul might have been colored by his increasing lack of trust in his former ally.

The outgoing president has increasingly voiced concern and criticism about the direction Turkey is heading, and its backing of rebels against the Syrian regime.

Despite the tensions between the two men, Gul has enjoyed support across the deeply polarized political landscape, says Asli Aydintasbas, a columnist for the Turkey's Milliyet newspaper.
 
"Gul is able to generate votes beyond the AKP base and beyond activists, is appreciated by Kurds, and even social democrats for his position on basic freedoms and what not," Aydintasbas said.

Erdogan faces a political challenge that could result in needing Gul in upcoming elections when Ahmet Davutoglu is in the office of prime minister. His AK Party needs to secure a two-thirds parliamentary majority in next year's general election in order to change the constitution to turn Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system.  

"If we go to the elections when they are scheduled in June and Davutoglu makes a mess of things and it becomes obvious without Gul at the helm of the party you really cannot run in the elections and get the majority you need, under those circumstances Gul would be expected to be called back," said Soli Ozel, an international relations expert at Istanbul's Kadir Has University.  
 
Opponents of the AK party drawn from conservative wing of Turkish politics are suggesting Gul could even form a new party. 
 
"He [Gul] is very silent," Taskin said. "He is trying to decide whether to join the initiative to start a center right party. So there are some groups willing to start a new party, but Gul is still indecisive to openly support such an initiative."
 
Gul's final decision could depend on the success of the new government and its prime minister. For now, the outgoing president has refused to comment on his future plans other than saying he does not plan to retire from politics.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs