The Kapali Carsi

Turkey: The president’s speech

Nearly a fifth of President Abdullah Gül’s speech at the commencement ceremony of the Parliament on Oct. 1 was devoted to economics.

Here’s the intro. to my Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) column from last week, where I discuss how the econ. parts of Gul’s speech. Before you go on with this addendum, you can (or rather “should”) read the whole thing at the HDN website.

Once you read it, you’ll know for sure where the President stands regarding the row between Econ. Minister Zafer Caglayan and the troika of Econ. tzar Ali Babacan, FinMin Mehmet Simsek and Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci I had outlined in the previous week’s column. But then, I won’t be surprised if you ask yourselves, “so what? why do I care?”.

You should care because many people who are aware of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential aspirations feel his transition to the presidency will be easy, as he and Gul are close friends, and Erdogan will end up appointing a “puppet” to the PM position.

Gul’s political criticisms in the speech were much harsher, and the PM responded that while he would not argue with the President, he noted that he did not agree with him, either. Some political commentators went as far ahead as suggesting that Gul had burned the bridges with Erdogan. While I would not go that far, I agree that Gul may not want to give up the Presidency, or go for becoming the boss of Justice and Development Party rather than accept the Putin-Medvedev model and go into retirement (or an international prestige post, such as the U.N. Presidency)

And if you are wondering why there is disagreement between the two: I am not sure. Some say that’s because Gul is closer to Fetullah Gulen, a powerful cleric living in Pennsylvania and head of the Gulenist movement.

Coming back to Gul’s econ. criticisms, Ugur Gurses and Seyfettin Gursel of Radikal offer good analyses of the same speech, which are more or less in line with me (Turkish)…

One Response to “Turkey: The president’s speech”

Akbar DadabaevOctober 22nd, 2012 at 2:02 am

There are a lot of positives in Erdogan and Gul disagreements when you look at the bigger picture. This shows that there are several competing ideas within your 'religious rulers'' usually portrayed as being surrounded around the same agenda. It's clear that Turkey will follow neither Putin-Medvedev system where ex-KGB run the country nor traditional Islamic system like in Iran as many fear.
I hope, Ak party will keep two strong competing sides within to keep it from going to extremes as well as strong opposition from other political parties and fact checking media.
I like the way your country is going and I like the grand idea of 2023, will be retiring in Turkey by then 🙂