Sometimes, to see if things are really changing, it helps to leave a marker behind you as you walk along. This is what I did last week when I produced a brief guide to the candidates, as speculated by the media at the time. How things can change in a week.
The biggest development is that Bülent Arınç, the parliament speaker, appears to have pulled out. Or so the press seem to think. He was on Italian television over the weekend, and when the interviewer began by asking whether he was addressing Turkey’s future president, Mr Arınç said “no”.
But it’s not entirely a wrap: when the interviewer asked, “Not even theoretically?” Mr Arınç said that any MP could theoretically be a candidate, and “as parliament speaker my potential ratio might be a little higher”. Nothing clearer there, then.
Elsewhere, the presidential campaign has its first officially declared candidate. Metin Uca, who until recently spent his days lecturing the ills of contestants on his TRT-1 gameshow, has thrown his hat into an otherwise empty ring. “I have had a positive response from parliament’s liberal MPs. I have (the support of) 110 MPs, including some from the governing party,” he told reporters last week. “I am serious and confident.”
With just over two weeks to go until nominations open, here my revised list of official and potential candidates:
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prime minister, AKP — was urged by today’s Financial Times not to stand.
Bülent Arınç, parliament speaker, AKP — appeared to signal he would not stand, but who knows for certain?
Abdullah Gül, foriegn minister, AKP
Vecdi Gönül, defence minister, AKP
Beşir Atalay, state minister, AKP
Hikmet Çetin, former CHP leader and foreign minister — remains this blog’s candidate.
Ertuğrul Yalçınbayır, MP for Bursa, AKP
Metin Uca, journalist and former gameshow host — declared last week, claims to have the support of 110 MPs.