A long simmering feud between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his predecessor and one-time comrade Abdullah Gul has erupted into an acrimonious public row, raising questions about the former head of state’s future political intentions.
Gul and Erdogan co-founded the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) that dominated Turkish politics since 2002, with Gul serving as premier, foreign minister and then president from 2007-2014.
Since leaving office, Gul kept a guarded silence as Erdogan moved to expand the powers of the presidency as rumours swirled the former president was alarmed over Turkey’s course and bitterly resented being excluded from the ruling party.
Gul was said to be particularly unhappy over an April referendum Erdogan called — and narrowly won — to expand the powers of the presidency.
But an emergency decree issued last month which says civilians would not face legal action over any behaviour in thwarting the 2016 coup sparked fears of mob rule and a rare intervention from Gul.
Gul labelled the decree “worrisome in terms of the understanding of the rule of law” and risked “developments in the future that would upset us all.”