Ankara (AFP) - Turkey's outgoing President Abdullah Gul said on Monday he would return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after he hands over the post of head of state to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
As president, Gul has by law had to sever all links with the AKP, which he helped to co-found with Erdogan in 2001.
His comment that he intends to return to the ranks of the party is likely to intensify speculation Gul may be considered a possible candidate to take over as prime minister.
"I am president until August 28 and after this it is only natural for me to return to my party," Gul told reporters in Ankara.
"I have no doubt that I will return to my party," he added.
Erdogan won the post of president in Sunday's election and is due to be inaugurated on August 28, when Gul's mandate ends.
Gul briefly held the post of prime minister after the AKP took office following its first election victory in 2002, and also served as foreign minister from 2003 to 2007.