ORHAN OIUZ – To be or not to be a president

To be or not to be a presidentThe top item on the agenda of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), having had victory in the local polls, seems to be the presidential election. Whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan will run for president continues to be hotly debated. “The developments may throw you a curveball,” Prime Minister ErdoIan told reporters, and this is perceived by some as the possibility of ErdoIan’s deciding not to run for president at the eleventh hour. Will he choose to settle with the presidency, which is a symbolic post that can give him more impunity? Or will he opt to remain in the Prime Ministry, given the fact that any successor to him, however carefully selected, will have the potential to revolt against him?There is a dilemma facing ErdoIan. In which position can he withstand the burden of unlawful practices coupled with the allegations of graft and bribery that implicate his person, his family, his close circles and colleagues? How will ErdoIan solve this dilemma? If he becomes president, he may not be able to easily and directly prevent the investigations into and legal proceedings regarding these allegations. If he remains prime minister, there is the likelihood of the snowballing of similar allegations and investigations.Therefore, the question of whether to be president or not will affect the prime minister’s destiny radically. In Turkish statecraft, the president represents the state and the nation’s unity. ErdoIan’s discriminatory rhetoric helps him win elections. But this has, at the same time, destroyed the likelihood of his being perceived as a potential president who can represent the unity of the nation. By pursuing a similar polarizing tactic, ErdoIan can win the presidential elections as well. Effective success in the management of perceptions, use of all public resources for furthering party interests, and the best-defense-is-offense strategy are ErdoIan’s aantages. But we cannot say that he does not care about the concept of sustainability. He should consider the options in terms of sustainability.As if he is running amok, ErdoIan believes he is obliged to run nonstop. So he is obsessed with running, and never thinking about his destination. He has to run in order not to fall. If he stops, the political and legal burden he has been carrying may pull him down. On March 25, 2013, Turkey faced a political coup when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) suspended the judicial police and court processes. Then, it put in place a legal but unfair system. The only institution that has so far resisted these unlawful practices of the AK Party is the HaIim KIlI-led Constitutional Court. The ruling AK Party is exerting great effort to undermine, transform or at least abstract the concept of justice. The coming presidential election appears to be a milestone for the people who long for democracy. People hope that a fair president will halt this process. We can say that the designation “civil, religious, democratic president” attributed to former President Turgut zal is frequently remembered these days. Turkey wants to have a president who pays respect to religious values even if he is not religious and who has internalized civilian and democratic values. When German President Joachim Gauck criticized the unlawful processes in Turkey, ErdoIan harshly reacted to him. Let us remember what Gauck said.He said that the removal of a number of police and prosecutors from their posts by the government would prevent the illumination of shady developments, adding: “I’m asking: If the government tries to manipulate the court decisions in its favor or escape from decisions against itself, can we talk about independence of the judiciary? As a democrat, I will raise my voice if rule of law is threatened anywhere, even if it is not my home country.”Turkey deserves a president who says, “I will always raise my voice if the rule of law is threatened.” 

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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