Skip to main content

Get ready for the next Erdogan decade

It seems that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's game plan is to rule Turkey in a very centralized and personalized presidential system at least until 2024.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara April 8, 2014. Turkey's first directly elected president will be a more powerful figure than the current largely ceremonial role, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Tuesday as saying, boosting expectations he may run for the post in August. Erdogan is barred by the rules of his ruling AK Party from standing for a fourth term as prime minister and
Read in 

Last week, Turkish President Abdullah Gul declared to the press, "Under these conditions, I don't have plans for politics." This was widely interpreted as an end to expectations that Gul, somehow, would keep sharing power with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the presidential elections in August. Now many believe that Erdogan will win the elections to become the first popularly elected president of Turkey, and there will be no Gul to balance him.

One may wonder why Gul is so important. As one of the two founders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Gul has not simply been an ally and "brother" of Erdogan, but also the only name in the AKP universe that could afford to openly disagree with him. It is no wonder a number of differences have emerged between them in the past few years. In the face of the Gezi Park protests, for example, Gul advocated for moderation and dialogue, whereas Erdogan opted for defiance. Gul opposed the recent bans on Twitter and YouTube that Erdogan ordered and defended. In addition, Gul dismissed the conspiracy theories about foreign plots against Turkey, one of the main themes in Erdogan's new political rhetoric.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.