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AKP Fracturing
Gül to Erdoğan: Stop Being Crazy

Abdullah Gül and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are old allies and friends. The current President and Prime Minister of Turkey, respectively, co-founded the AK party and together have ruled the country for more than a decade. But recent and damning reports of corruption focusing on Erdoğan have threatened to do irreparable damage to Erdoğan’s legacy and the cohesiveness of the party. Gül is now moving to publicly distance himself from Erdoğan’s increasing irrationality.

“I don’t accept allegations about foreign powers and I don’t find them right…. I don’t believe in these conspiracy theories as if there are some people trying to destroy Turkey,” Reuters reports Gül saying. “These types of comments are for third world countries.” According to a journalist with Al-Monitor who traveled with Gül on a trip to Europe, Gül expressed sadness over the recent death of a 15 year old who was mortally wounded during anti-government protests. Erdoğan, by contrast, has been calling the young protestor a terrorist.

Whereas Erdoğan has responded to recent allegations of corruption and anti-government protests with fiery rebuttals and suggestions of “foreign plots” against him, Gül has appeared more contemplative. “The political atmosphere we are in is not making any of us happy,” he said on his trip to Europe. “It doesn’t make me happy. I am both troubled and saddened by the things we are going through.”

In a recent article for TAI, Professor Henri Barkey said that Erdoğan’s legacy is already irreparably tarnished, that his party’s future uncertain, and that the country is in turmoil as a result of his rather irresponsible and unscrupulous actions. But Erdoğan maintains a large amount of support in parts of the country and a cadre of officials, businessmen, journalists, judges, and others who show him unquestioning loyalty and survive off their relationship with him. The AKP may yet win the upcoming municipal elections. But Gül’s dissent show the widening cracks in what remains of Team Erdoğan.

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