Turkey's ruling party welcomes outgoing president

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Gul accepted our invitation to return to the party without any hesitation," says Deputy PM Arinc

ANKARA - Outgoing Turkish President Abdullah Gul is welcome back into Turkey's ruling AK Party, said Bulent Arinc, deputy prime minister, although it is not clear what his role in the party will be. 

In an interview with private TV channel "Kanal A, Arinc ruled out Gul being chosen as party chairman right now, "because he is not an MP, which he cannot be until June 2015," when Turks will vote in general elections. 

Arinc made his comments ahead of a party meeting on August 27 when the party is expected to choose a prime minister before President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan takes his oath of office the next day.

Gul, who along with Erdogan was one of the founders of the party 14 years ago, said he would officially remain head of state until August 28.

Arinc went on to say: "It is arguable whether Gul would accept any forced formula to become the prime minister or whether the party would like such a formula."

"Erdogan and members of the party's central executive committee have agreed that the chosen party leader will be the prime minister for the time being because it will enable continuation, consistency and stability in the party," he said. "This decision has not been taken against Abdullah Gul. This is a legal decision taken under the internal dynamics of the party and necessity of the current circumstances."

Arinc said he does not think Gul will be "saddened" by this decision and requested others not to evaluate it as "an action and a decision taken against him."

Gul was one of the founders of the AK Party together with President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who became the country's 12th president in Sunday's first-ever direct poll to pick the head of the Turkish state.

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