Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested yesterday that debates focusing on differences of views between him and President Abdullah Gul were actually aimed at sowing discord between him and the head of state, while adding that these efforts were destined to remain futile.
“If you look at what I and Mr. President have said, you would see that we are actually saying the same things,” Erdogan said at a press conference late yesterday when reminded of the row over Oct. 29 Republic Day.
Erdogan’s remarks came hours after he and Gul held a lengthy meeting which lasted longer than an hour. The routine weekly meeting was the first after the two engaged in a row.
Recent tension between the country’s top two officials stemmed from Gul’s reported instruction to Ankara’s governor to tolerate people who wanted to celebrate Republic Day independently despite a government ban, prompting Erdogan to say Oct. 30 that “double-headed rule” would not benefit Turkey.
Gul, in response, said Oct. 31 that there was no need for misunderstandings and that everybody should look carefully at what was said.
Erdogan blamed the media for a selective quotation of what he and Gul said. “Those who try to sow discord between the president and the prime minister should not exert efforts in vain,” he said, while also pointing at a presidential system as a way out for potential problems.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to officially introduce its proposal to impose a presidential system on Turkey at Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission as part of its suggestions for the “legislation” chapter./hurriyetdailynews.com/