Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has maintained that the strong support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March 30 local elections is a crystal clear sign showing that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would comfortably be elected if he decides to run for presidency in the upcoming August election Hurriyet Daily News reported .
"In my opinion, if our prime minister wants to be a candidate, Mr. [President Abdullah] Gul will show respect to this and support him. They will consult each other and one of them will express [the will]," Arinc said in an interview aired live on NTV news channel on April 4, when reminded of Gul's recent remarks in which he stated that the exact day to speak about everything concerning the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey has arrived.
"Until March 30, a conviction suggesting 'the road to Cankaya is closed to Erdogan' had erupted among opposition leaders and even some columnists," Arinc said.
Cankaya is a byword for the presidential office in Turkish politics as a reference to the Cankaya Presidential Palace in the capital city of Ankara.
"But March 30 showed that the road to Cankaya is open. If we had held a general election today, in my opinion, we wouldn't get less than 50 percent. If today's trend goes on, I believe that he can get 51 percent in the first round comfortably," Arinc said. "The president would not object to this decision if Erdogan wants it," he reiterated.