President Abdullah Gul may serve as prime minister if the current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is elected to the presidential post in the August elections, a senior ruling party member has said Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"We want our prime minister to run for presidency, and he will fit the post," Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Leader Mehmet Ali Shahin said in an interview with CNNTurk yesterday. "I believe he will be elected in the first round [which requires the majority of the votes] if he decides to run."
Shahin noted Gul will become a "civilian" if he is not re-elected to the post.
"We want to benefit from Gul, with whom we founded the AKP together," Şahin said. "He needs to become a lawmaker to become a prime minister, but there are various ways to make that happen, we can find a way."
The AKP deputy leader also noted that an elected president could have problems with the prime minister in the current parliamentary system.
"We must have a system in Turkey that will be suitable for a president elected by popular vote, this may be a presidential system or a semi-presidential system, or even a system that will allow the president remain as an active member of a political party," he said. "Turkey will eventually come to this point. Electing a president by popular vote will force such a system on us."
The debate over the presidential elections, which will lead to the country's first president elected by popular vote, started when Gul said last week that it was time to talk about the presidential elections.
"Since the local elections are over and the presidential vote is in August, the day to talk about presidency has come," Gul told reporters in Kuwait City on April 2. "By the beginning of May, it will become clear. We will sit, talk and decide accordingly."
Erdogan later said he agreed with Gul's statement that the two men should sit down and come to a decision following discussions. "I also share our president's approach that we will decide about the issue following discussions between us," he told reporters on April 4.