Turkey’s ex-President Gül will not challenge Erdoğan in presidential election

Turkey’s former President Abdullah Gül on Saturday said he would not be a candidate in a snap presidential election on June 24, underlining that his decision was due to a lack of consensus between opposition parties.

Holding a press conference in İstanbul, Gül said his name was first mentioned by Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu and that many others also proposed he run for the top post. He said he would have been a candidate if a general consensus had been reached.

“I said I would not turn down the responsibility if a general consensus were reached. I appreciate Mr. Temel’s efforts. It seems there is not such a general demand after all. I will not be a candidate in the upcoming presidential election,” he added.

Gül also addressed members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who attacked him after his name was floated for candidacy.

Gül did not take any questions from reporters.

On Tuesday Erdoğan said the possible candidacy of Gül from the opposition side would not change his plans for the June 24 snap presidential and parliamentary elections.

“I don’t have a problem with that. We’ll see who is in the squares to campaign. We’ll see who is there and then go on our way. We decide everything including the scenarios we want. Those who oppose us should get themselves ready with that in mind,” Erdoğan told reporters who asked about former President Gül’s possible candidacy in the presidential election, following a speech at the AKP group meeting in Parliament.

On Thursday, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu expressed support for Erdoğan in the presidential race slated for June 24, quashing speculation that he would support Gül in the event he were to run for president.

“While my membership continues in [the Justice and Development Party] AKP, i will not be part of any political activity outside the party. If I do, it will be the end of my AKP identity. I don’t have any intention of doing so,” said Davutoğlu.

“In this context, any decision of the AKP is my decision, too. Mr. President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is also my candidate.”

Davutoğlu had to step down in May 2016 at Erdoğan’s order.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also said in a statement on Tuesday that he would not take part in a formation against the AKP, in remarks meant to imply that he would back Erdoğan’s presidential bid. (turkishminute.com)

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