October 2, 2013


Gul hints at political ambitions in speech to Turkey's parliament (Daniel Dombe, 10/01/13, Financial Times)

In a possible reference to criticism that the prime minister has become more authoritarian and has muzzled the media, Mr Gul said: "The separation of powers, a free press, and an effective opposition are also among the indispensable elements of democracy."

Speaking after weeks during which Mr Erdogan slammed protesters as plotters, looters and terrorists, he said: "We cannot view every issue and every debate in terms of 'black or white', 'right or wrong', 'justified or unjustified', 'us and them' or 'friend or foe'."

While Mr Erdogan blamed this year's Gezi protests on a nebulous "interest rate lobby" that sought to hold Turkey's growth back, Mr Gul argued that Turkey, like other emerging markets, was affected by the reining-in of US monetary stimulus and needed to reduce its dependence on short-term foreign funds and attract more foreign direct investment.

The contrast between Mr Gul's conciliatory speech, which also highlighted the EU as the "centre of gravity" of Turkish foreign policy, and Mr Erdogan's more combative style is particularly significant since Turkey is headed for an uncertain transition of power ahead of the country's first direct presidential elections next year.

Posted by at October 2, 2013 5:13 PM

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