Amid controversy ex-President Gül says won’t enter active politics

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Turkey's former President Abdullah Gül. AFP PHOTO / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT

Former President Abdullah Gül has reiterated once again that he will not return to active politics and does not take seriously a recent proposal by a politician suggesting that he run in the presidential election of 2019.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) former leader and current deputy Deniz Baykal recently claimed that Gül could be the candidate of the 49 percent of the people who voted against a constitutional reform package that was put to a public vote on April 16.

The reform package, which received support from 51.4 percent of the public, introduced an executive presidency in Turkey.

Speaking to reporters following Friday prayers at a mosque in İstanbul’s Esenyurt neighborhood, Gül said: “A politician recently mentioned my name within the framework of some intra-party calculations and policies. To be frank, I did not take what was said about me seriously.”

Following Baykal’s remarks, some Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials called on Gül to end the speculation by making a statement.

“Some friends have gone beyond the boundaries of respect and went as far as telling me what I should do,” Gül said as he signaled his unease with the calls asking him to make a statement.

“I served as a president impartially for seven years. I have said for many times that I won’t enter politics. I have the responsibility to share all my knowledge and experience when necessary,” said the former president.

There are also frequent claims that Gül could establish a new political party that will be a rival to the ruling AKP.

Gül was among the co-founders of the AKP. He served as prime minister and foreign minister before being elected president in 2007, when he had to part ways with the AKP. Following the end of his tenure, he did not return to the AKP, contrary to the expectations.

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