Source of Erdoğan–Gül tensions is expected 2019 challenge – columnist

The source of a recent spat between current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his predecessor Abdullah Gül is Erdoğan’s belief that Gül may be planning to challenge him for the presidency in 2019, columnist and “palace insider” Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in the Hürriyet newspaper.

“Erdoğan and Gül have disagreed on many things since founding the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on August 14, 2001 but this is the first time they have fought out in the open,” Selvi said.

“It is thought that Erdoğan is hinting that Gül will be the joint candidate of the opposition at the presidential election … That is why he has taken the decision to openly intervene.”

There were several points of breakdown between the two party co-founders, with one being Gül’s opposition to a presidential system of government and another being his insistence that Erdoğan and his son submit to the judiciary, even when they themselves were the apparent targets of it in December 2013, Selvi said.

But as Erdoğan removed Ahmet Davutoğlu as prime minister in 2016, the latest move by Erdoğan against another old ally comes following media speculation of treachery.

“In recent times, people have started saying that Gül ‘wants to become the joint candidate of the ‘no bloc’ against Erdoğan by getting 100,000 signatures’,” Selvi said.

Under presidential election rules, an independent candidate can stand on condition that they collect 100,000 signatures in their favour.


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