ETYEN – No surprise for presidency and prime ministry

No surprise for presidency and prime ministryTwo remarks in particular stand out in recent weeks. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan said, “I will use all my powers and authorities if I am elected as president.” Several days later, President Abdullah Gul said, “I don’t have any political career plans under the current circumstances.”Actually, these two remarks give us all we need to know about the presidential election and the post-election government. First of all, I must underline that ErdoIan will certainly become president. This has nothing to do with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) stability in power or the continuation of the settlement process regarding the Kurdish issue. For the first time in the history of this country, the president will be elected directly by the public, and ErdoIan will certainly not refrain from accepting this honor. Moreover, he is a politician who sees it as his mission to rebuild the republic on pluralistic and legitimate foundations. He is the natural leader of a movement that has sociologically converted religious and conservative groups into a major political voice and has won landslide victories in six elections and two referendums. Only an extraordinary event can prevent this person from becoming president. The powers and authorities of the presidency pale in comparison to its symbolic meaning. Indeed, even if there were no power in the presidency, ErdoIan would still want to become president and try to introduce the power and authorities later.Therefore any sane reasoning about the future must take ErdoIan’s presidency as a given. Then, the real question is, “Who will become prime minister?” None of the other parties has any chance of affecting the process. It must be concluded that everything is controlled by the AKP and that any decision made within the AKP will shape the future of Turkish politics for the next five years. Apparently, this is also the way the senior AKP officials think, and they are aware that the issue is not about the election of the prime minister. Indeed, everyone knows that what matters will be the relationship between the president and prime minister. The most critical question for the time being is to what extent and under what conditions can harmony be achieved.Against this background, the above-mentioned remarks by ErdoIan and Gul tell us many things. ErdoIan hints that he will convene the Cabinet or he will attend all meetings of the Cabinet. When the elected president is there, the prime minister will have to stay in the background. In short, ErdoIan will have to appoint a “second man” as prime minister or developments will turn him into a “coordinator of ministers.”Understanding the situation, Gul is right not to see a political post for himself “under these circumstances.” He may choose to do nothing for a year and then become the party’s chairman, conduct an election campaign and become a deputy. During the ErdoIan presidency, the new system will settle and Gul will be able to make a fresh start.Those who expect a conflict between these two politicians will continue to be disappointed. Despite ideological and dispositional differences, Gul’s future completely depends on whether conservative groups will embrace him. It should be noted that politicians who leave the AKP have only one chance and if they lose, they are pushed outside politics. It is unlikely that Gul will make such a mistake. There is no coalition to help him win. And he too wants to be recorded by history and it is unwise for him to try to make this happen in places other than the AK

SOURCE: Todays Zaman