Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government is still “very scared” about the possibility of former president Abdullah Gül putting his candidacy forward in Turkey’s next presidential elections, which are three years away.
Kılıçdaroğlu made the comments during an interview with daily Cumhuriyet’s İpek Özbey on Aug. 17. Kılıçdaroğlu was asked if the CHP leadership was considering Gül as a candidate. The CHP leader said that there is currently no such plan on the party’s agenda.
“There is no logic in manifesting a thought with regards to a topic that does not exit. But the question is this: ‘Why are they so much scared of Abdullah Gül?’” Kılıçdaroğlu asked.
Gül founded the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2001. He was president between 2007 and 2014 during Erdoğan’s term as prime minister.
There were widespread speculations in 2018 that Gül would challenge Erdoğan for the presidency as he was touted as the only competitive rival in the elections. At the time Kılıçdaroğlu denied holding talks directly with Gül but repeatedly held discussions with Felicity Party (SP) that pushed the former president to run.
Cumhuriyet’s Özbey asked Kılıçdaroğlu to address current rumors that he was allegedly “talking with Gül every week.” “Those who make claims of ‘weekly meeting’ or such claims are those who are under some others’ control and are physiologically disturbed individuals,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP leader said that he did not know how such a rumor arose as Gül did not either express a desire to run in the next presidential elections.