Arinc Rules Out Gul Helming AKP as Turkey Power Base Shifts

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc today ruled out any scenario where outgoing President Abdullah Gul takes the helm of the ruling party, saying lawmakers want the next head to also be the premier, a role for which Gul is ineligible.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Aug. 10 victory in the nation’s first direct presidential election and a debate on Gul’s political future helped send the Turkish lira lower for a second day today. Investors are scrutinizing signals on the shape of a new government to be formed by month-end, amid indications that some of the party’s key figures, including those in the economic administration, may not find roles.

Gul, a former economist and banker, said yesterday that he would be seeking to rejoin the ruling party after handing over the presidency to Erdogan on Aug. 28. Huseyin Celik, the party’s spokesman, quickly ruled out any leadership role for him, saying Erdogan’s replacement as chairman and premier will be chosen at a party congress one day earlier.

“Erdogan would be slamming the door shut in Gul’s face if the AK Party convention goes ahead on August 27 while the incumbent continues to occupy Cankaya,” Anthony Skinner, head of analysis at Maplecroft, a U.K.-based global risk forecasting company, said in an e-mail late yesterday. “Gul is the figure who could cause problems for Erdogan if he decided to split.”

The lira fell as much as 0.8 percent to 2.1681 per dollar at 5:15 p.m. in Istanbul today, the weakest on a closing basis since March 28. Yields on two-year sovereign notes rose 17 basis points to 9.51 percent, the highest since April 29.

Gul won’t be able to “immediately become prime minister” because he’s not a member of parliament, Arinc, the deputy prime minister, said today on AHaber television. The outgoing president will instead be given “a role he deserves,” he said. Gul could shoulder “great responsibilities by 2015,” when Turkey holds parliamentary elections, Arinc said.

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