Pushing government to limits, ErdoIan’s will being tested

The inevitable is at the doorstep. The public rift growing between President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent ArIn, a founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) who in the past three days spoke out in loud terms in defense of the government, shows that the current de facto political situation in Turkey is unsustainable.

The rift broke out over what ArIn saw as undue, erratic and illegitimate interference by ErdoIan o

The inevitable is at the doorstep. The public rift growing between President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan and Deputy Prime Minister Banduumllent ArInandccedil, a founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) who in the past three days spoke out in loud terms in defense of the government, shows that the current de facto political situation in Turkey is unsustainable.

The rift broke out over what ArInandccedil saw as undue, erratic and illegitimate interference by ErdoIan on the modalities of the Kurdish settlement process.

What lies underneath is twofold: At first glance, some pundits correctly made clear that Turkey is now experiencing the first signals of dandeacutejandagrave vu of episodes that took place in the past, when former Presidents Turgut andOumlzal and Sanduumlleyman Demirel, two key figures of Turkish modern politics, lost, in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively, their control over the parties they had founded.

They ended up losing power altogether in the end.

But the second aspect is new: ErdoIanand#39s seemingly endless meddling in government affairs by repeatedly breaching the Constitution shows that a system based on both an elected president and an elected prime minister is unsustainable, because when it was designed in 2007 after a crisis it was ill-conceived.

Many experts have repeatedly warned since then that it would only cause chaos. Because ErdoIan is so keen to personalize power and keep absolute control over the AKP mechanisms for reasons of impunity and his survival, he acts in a very powerful, urgent manner

Whatand#39s obvious about ErdoIanand#39s robust intervention, first by speaking against the formation of a monitoring delegation for the Kurdish settlement process, and then following up by rejecting the 10-point conditional proposal of Abdullah andOumlcalan to andldquoinstitutionalizeandrdquo the negotiations and, in the end, to lay down arms, is that he panicked, given the prospect of a decline in the AKP vote.

The battle of words between ErdoIan and ArInandccedil, at the end of the day, has to do with who will dictate government policies.

ErdoIan fears that his cunning plan to play for time in the Kurdish process is now being endangered by some steps the government of Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu is inclined to take by assembling a committee to supervise the process.

It is most likely that ErdoIan sees that the AKP vote now seems to be moving toward the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Suddenly, the dramatic prospect of the AKP even losing an absolute majority after the elections due in June 7 is on the table.

But in the background there is more to the rift, which promises a tense showdown ahead over the AKP.

Tension reached a boiling point when ErdoIan did not let go of attacking the governor of the Central Bank of Turkey, Erdem BaIandccedilI, and turned the equation between inflation and the interest rate upside down.

He even used the word treason. The row led to a shattered currency, and Ali Babacan had to interfere, politely andldquosilencingandrdquo ErdoIan.

Then came the operation to evacuate the soldiers from the Sanduumlleyman Iah tomb located in a tiny Turkish pocket of land in Syria, a plan which according to some rumors ErdoIan had also objected to and insisted on delaying, obviously due to concerns about losing votes.

Perhaps the most interesting — and unexpected — development which preceded the current rift over the Kurdish issue was ErdoIanand#39s statements when he visited the War Academies Command and addressed the officers, saying that andldquohe was deceivedandquot with regard to the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases by what he sees as the andldquoparallel structure.

andrdquo

ArInandccedil knows very well that large chunks of the AKP grassroots consist of pious nationalists who are allergic to militarists.

So, sensing a loss of control, ErdoIanand#39s plan seems to be to adopt a line of denial of the Kurdish reform demands and appeasing the military in order to stop the flight of the AKP vote to the MHP.

But, by doing so, he is now alienating the pious Kurdish voters of the AKP who will inevitably move to the Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP).

It seems that ErdoIan will take any risk possible not to leave anything to chance, even if it means parting ways with anyone who gets in his way, and even if they are the backbone of the very party they built together

.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman