Saying that some circles have long been trying to create a rift between Erdoğan and Gül, Hasan Cemal from Milliyet says that the two politicians, also old friends, have not let it happen. President Gül, especially, behaved in a meticulous way to dismiss such speculations about a possible rift. Cemal says if the country was able to persevere through 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008, when the tension between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the military was at its peak, without a coup d’état, it is thanks to the strong cooperation between Gül and Erdoğan. However, he wonders about why the issue of how many years Gül’s tenure will last has been left unclear for so long, and why he is staying silent now. Cemal says that Erdoğan should express his views and future plans out loud to dismiss such speculations, he notes.
The Sabah daily’s Nazlı Ilıcak mentions three different opinion polls about who should be elected as the new president. According to a poll by the Konsensus poll company, 48 percent pointed to Gül, while 16 percent named Erdoğan. The Andy-Ar poll conducted just after the Konsensus poll revealed that 42 percent objected to Erdoğan’s candidacy for president. However, Konsensus conducted another poll three months later and the results were surprisingly different. According to the results, the percent of people supporting Gül’s candidacy dropped to 20 percent, while 41 percent said they support Erdoğan. The columnist points out that there is an ongoing campaign aiming to devaluate Gül and get him out of Erdoğan’s way.
Taraf’s Ahmet Altan, on the other hand, thinks Gül made this move to announce that he is an alternative leader for those who are tired of Erdoğan’s recent moves and yet do not have anyone else better to support. “It seems to me that Gül is not only preparing to announce his candidacy for [the] Çankaya [presidential palace] but for being the antidote to [Erdoğan’s recent much-criticized] politics.”