PM Erdogan Rules out Divergence of Opinion with President
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said there is no divergence of opinion between himself and President Abdullah Gül when commenting on claims that there is a "double-headed" administration in the country.

The prime minister spoke to journalists on Thursday on the plane taking them back to Turkey from Germany. He spoke about a controversy that erupted in the wake of confusion over who ordered the lifting of police barricades that were preventing people in Ankara from marching at an unsanctioned rally on Oct. 29 to mark the 89th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. He said he and the president do not have the slightest divergence of opinion and that the two men "think in the same way."

Initially, the police did not allow rally participants to march to Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and used tear gas and water cannon to try to break up the crowd. After about half an hour, however, the police removed the barricades and allowed demonstrators to continue on to Anıtkabir. The removal of the barricades alleviated tensions between demonstrators and the police while averting further possible clashes.

Claims emerged that President Gül was the one who asked for the removal of the barricades. However, Erdoğan said he does not believe that Gül gave any such order, saying there has never been a double-headed state administration in the country. In response, Gül agreed that there is no double-headedness in Turkey.

The prime minister reiterated his remarks on Thursday, saying that Gül is telling the truth. "We [Gül and Erdoğan] are of the same opinion. There is no divergence of opinion between us. We have said and are still saying the same thing. There is not the slightest controversy between us," he told journalists.

Also on Thursday, Erdoğan met with Gül at the Çankaya presidential palace in Ankara, leading to comments that Erdoğan was working to do away with claims of divergence of opinion with the president.

When journalists asked about his earlier proposal to reduce the age requirement to stand for election from the current 25 to 18, Erdoğan gave examples of European countries and said the youth in Europe are eligible to be elected at an earlier age than those in Turkey. "Why do we intend to make a revision to the age requirement for being elected? Because we want our people to enjoy more rights and be more self-confident," Erdoğan added.

Erdoğan also said his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is scheduled to hold a meeting on Nov. 3 in the Turkish capital to discuss plans to move the upcoming local elections to an earlier date. The next local elections are slated for March 2014, and the AK Party plans to hold them earlier, in October or November 2013.

Asked about ongoing efforts of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission to draft a new constitution, Erdoğan said he is losing hope that the commission will be able to complete the draft in time, by the end of this year. However, he said, the commission should keep up with efforts to draft a new constitution. He also said the AK Party is decisive in replacing the existing Constitution with a new and civilian one and will not be discouraged if other political parties represented in Parliament do not join its efforts.

CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-01 20:00:01
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