In final speech in parliament before his term runs out, Turkish President Abdullah Gul struck a remarkably sensible and statesmanlike tone, seemingly gesturing toward a future in Turkish politics for himself. The Financial Times:
In a possible reference to criticism that the prime minister has become more authoritarian and has muzzled the media, Mr Gul said: “The separation of powers, a free press, and an effective opposition are also among the indispensable elements of democracy.”Speaking after weeks during which Mr Erdogan slammed protesters as plotters, looters and terrorists, he said: “We cannot view every issue and every debate in terms of “black or white”, “right or wrong”, “justified or unjustified”, “us and them” or “friend or foe”.”While Mr Erdogan blamed this year’s Gezi protests on a nebulous “interest rate lobby” that sought to hold Turkey’s growth back, Mr Gul argued that Turkey, like other emerging markets, was affected by the reining-in of US monetary stimulus and needed to reduce its dependence on short term foreign funds and attract more foreign direct investment.
The Turkish presidency is a mostly ceremonial office. Is Gul now seeking the Prime Ministership as his colleague Erdogan turns increasingly erratic and wacky? A lot of people must be hoping the answer is yes.[Photo courtesy Getty Images.]