ORHAN KEMAL – The roadmap of changing the system

The roadmap of changing the systemA month ago, Mehmet Ali Iahin, deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)learly explained their roadmap for the near future in Turkey. Back then, he had stated that the AK Party’s presidential candidate was Recep Tayyip ErdoIan.

Some may think this decision of ErdoIan running for the presidential election was taken at the very last moment, after a lot of consultation and so on, as has now been explained by some AK Party circles, but indeed it was a solemn undertaking and an old decision.So we can understand how emblems, slogans and everything else were ready for his campaign as soon as ErdoIan explained his decision to run as the presidential candidate of the AK Party.

Many people were not certain if ErdoIan was going to run in the presidential election because they thought that this may somehow be a limited role for ErdoIan’s ambitions. They thought that ErdoIan might have given up this idea thinking that as a prime minister he has more power and greater space for his political maneuvers.

People who thought like this were missing a crucial element that his running in the presidential election was just the commencement of a bigger campaign of uniting all state powers in his hands and changing the government system from a parliamentary to presidential one.AK Party Deputy Chairman Iahin also explained this plan to the press in his statement that I mentioned above.

He said: “ErdoIan will continue as the president. We are going to change the Constitution and introduce a presidential system by getting the AK Party more seats in Parliament in 2015.

In this way, our prime minister, who will have been elected president and who is a party member as well, will continue serving our nation until 2023.”This statement is clear enough in explaining the roadmap they envisioned, but we may add some other details.

If you look at ErdoIan’s recent statement, you can see that he only refers to one day, namely Aug. 10.

He did not mention Aug. 24 at all, the date of the possible second round of the election that will happen in the event no one gets over 50 percent of the vote.

For ErdoIan, it is vital to get elected in the first round, for a couple of reasons. The more votes he gets and being elected in the first round, the stronger his position will be to play the role he has assigned himself.

In this case, he will have stronger ground to act like a president, not in the sense of the role in a parliamentary system, but in the form and way that it happens in a presidential systemBeing elected in the first round will also give ErdoIan a more powerful position to assert that the people of Turkey want to change the government system from a parliamentary to a presidential one. If he gets the desired percentage of votes, he, I believe, will call an early election with the hope that the AK Party will get enough seats in Parliament to change the Constitution and the government system accordingly.

Early elections are also vital for another purpose. He neither wants to lose control over his party nor does he want his party to lose votes in the coming election as a result of the image of a weak party leader, who will be under his strict control.

And his journey promises more authoritarianism at every stage goes through. I will explain why this will happen in my column tomorrow.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman