Recep Erdogan’s smashing victory in this weekend’s election polls has created a power struggle in the ruling AK party, as outgoing president Abdullah Gul, a long-time challenger to Erdogan, is seeking to reenter the party. Under current Turkish law, a recently departed president, like Gul, is technically banned from joining a party, but Gul argues that he founded the AK party and it is only natural for him to be in it. He also made clear his disagreements with Erdogan, who he has criticised for being too authoritarian, and said his “political struggle was clear”. The issue is that Erdogan, who will become president soon, will not want to name such an independent and powerful figure as Prime Minster, but Erdogan’s less-than-expected margin of victory with 51.8% of the vote, is making his party nervous that they need Gul as a sidekick in order to secure victory in next year’s parliamentary elections. Markets rose on the news that Gul is seeking to stay in politics, as he is widely seen as a more agreeable and pro-EU figure than Erdogan.
FINSUM: Two thoughts on this situation: firstly, as far as democracy is concerned, it is certainly good news that Gul is seeking to stick around and fight; secondly, Gul’s choice to stay and his clear resolve to soldier on could set off another brutal power struggle within Turkey that could ultimately harm the country further.