June 16, 2012, 2:00 am

Turkey: President can serve 7-year term

Associated Press | Turkey’s top court ruled Friday that President Abdullah Gul can finish his seven-year term in office, then stand for re-election.

In 2007, Parliament elected Gul for one-time term as president, but a few months later Turkey enacted constitutional changes that allowed the election of presidents in popular votes for a five-year term.

Friday’s ruling could have wider political implications because it comes at a time when a debate is under way in Turkey about whether it should switch to a system where the president, not the prime minister, is the top elected official.

The Constitutional Court said Friday that Gul, 61, can stand for re-election in 2014. The president cannot serve more than twice. Currently, the Turkish presidency has some veto authority but is largely removed from daily politics.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won a third four-year term in 2011, says the country should shift to a presidential system, despite worry by some Turks that Erdogan, 58, would seek the post and continue in power.

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