Turkey's Erdogan welcomes President Gul's return to AK Party
Turkey's President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed President Abdullah Gul's decision to return to the ruling AK Party after his term as president Anadolu Agency reported
Erdogan, Turkey's outgoing prime minister, said Tuesday it is only "natural" that Gul will go back to "his party" during Gul's farewell reception in Cankaya Presidential Palace in capital Ankara.
The Justice and Development Party, commonly known as AK Party, will gather its Central Executive Committee on August 27 to elect their new chairman.
Abdullah Gul can go back to AK Party only after August 28, the date he will finish his term as the president.
Erdogan also said that it would be "wrong" to name one person as the AK Party chairman and another as prime minister.
"The Central Executive Committee will gather on August 27 to resolve one issue, that is, who will become the new chairman of the party," said Erdogan.
Erdogan was elected president on Sunday by an outright majority, securing nearly 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies.
Gul was one of the founders of the AK Party together with President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who became the country's 12th president for a five-year term in Sunday's first-ever direct poll to pick the head of the Turkish state.
At his farewell reception on Tuesday night, Gul thanked all government agencies for their work during his presidency, and praised Turkey's democratic maturity.
"Democracy is a process of perfection. This process includes addressing deficiencies and redressing failures through criticism and self-criticism, and amelioration of practices through reform," said Gul.
"Leaving my post, I am seeing with joy that Turkey has reached to a democratic maturity level that allows it to rectify its mistakes."
Gul also said that the current state of affairs on the international arena meant that "The existence of an ever-powerful, stable and prosperous Turkey is needed for regional and world peace."