Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın confirmed a visit he made to former President Abdullah Gül along with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, saying the idea was theirs and not that of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Appearing on a TV program on Tuesday evening, Kalın was asked about the controversial April visit to Gül, who was expected to become a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections on June 24.
The visit sparked a huge controversy and was considered an attempt by Erdoğan to stop Gül’s presidential bid.
“The visit was due to Hulusi Akar’s close relationship with Gül for more than 40 years. Erdoğan was informed about it, but the idea was ours; we didn’t go on his orders. I also have been friends with Gül for more than 15 years,” Kalın said.
On April 28, Gül announced he would not be a contender in the presidential race due to lack of a general agreement from opposition parties.
There were various scenarios for Gül’s candidacy, among them to be a nominee from the Felicity Party (SP), which he and Erdoğan left in the early 2000s to found the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
After Gül’s announcement, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) nominated Muharrem İnce for the presidential race, while SP leader Temel Karamollaoğlu also decided to stand as a candidate.