Turkey's agenda is recently occupied with the upcoming presidential elections, possible presidential candidates, President Abdullah Gül's future, whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will set his sights on the Çankaya presidential palace and the AK Party's next moves.
The opposition, which has not yet presented its candidates and is aware it has no chance in succeeding, isimplying a polarization between Gül and Erdoğan. Unfortunately, there are some people among the AK Party's circle playing into these hands and utter offensive words to Gül at times.
I assume Gül is feeling uncomfortable about the situation and gave an important statement last Friday. His statement reflects a clear message: Gül and Erdoğan cannot become rivals. If Erdoğan runs for the presidency, I will step back. However, I will never take a caretaker position as insistently commented by critics. If necessary, I will leave politics.
Here are Gül's messages in summary:
1) There is no need to create unrest. You will fail. 2) I am still engaged in politics and take actions as is required. 3) If Erdoğan runs for presidency, I will not be his rival. 4) I disregard descriptions such as "caretaker prime minister." If necessary, I will leave politics. 5) If Erdoğan does not leave his seat as the AK Party's general president and announces his candidacy in the general election, there is still a chance for Gül to be president for one more term.
Nowadays, there are different groups portraying Gül as Erdoğan's opposition.
In reality, the opposition parties are creating this impression because they are unable to present an alternative to Erdoğan's power. The parallel state nested in the government is planning to destroy the AK Party's integrity and shape politics by pitting Gül against Erdoğan.
Furthermore, the Western media is influenced by the current atmosphere. In connection with their discomfort regarding Erdoğan's policies, mostly related with Israel, the Western media is supporting the so-called rivalry and disagreement between the two.
Erdoğan and Gül founded the AK Party together, they are advocating for the same political movement and support each other. Erdoğan challenged the attacks of military tutelage in 2007 by saying, "Our presidential candidate is my brother, Abdullah Gül." Today, Gül will show the same attitude for Erdoğan's candidacy.
Any creation of tension will be a loss of time that will just tire and weaken the AK Party government. If only opposition groups used their energy to produce alternative policies! Turkish democracy has yet a long way to strengthen itself.
The first step should be the consolidation of the opposition to create the capacity to challenge the ruling party.