MuMTAZER – A New Turkey ?

A New Turkey ?Is the New Turkey under construction as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan claimed? Does ErdoIan’s victory in the presidential election really signify the beginning of a radical transformation?It is true that Aug. 10 is actually the beginning of a new era, but no one has the right, realistic answers to the questions, “Who will come to the forefront in this new period?” and “What balance will be created in this period?” It is quite natural for people to have diverse and divergent expectations and plans.

There is an important question. The presidency is a very prestigious office, but it has only symbolic and ceremonial powers and authority.

Will ErdoIan be able maintain his current power?The presidential palace is more protected and sumptuous than the Prime Ministerial Office, and is located about three or four kilometers away from it. It has high walls and is protected by a guard regiment.

Many people wonder if these walls are intended to prevent outsiders from entering or insiders from leaving. In any parliamentary system, the president is neutral and deprived of real powers and authority, and this makes him irresponsible and untouchable.

It is virtually impossible to wield real political power in such an isolated and well-protected place.ErdoIan was the naughty boy in the class.

With his acrimony and pugnacity, he brought everyone to their knees, making them do whatever he wished. Teachers may make naughty kids the chairman of the class or give them responsibilities so that they start to behave properly.

The president does not have the chance to get involved in the political arena as the prime minister could. ErdoIan will no longer be able to voice his infamous polemics while speaking in parliamentary group meetings held on Tuesday.

He won’t attend major meetings or conferences to deliver controversial speeches two or three times a week. Even if he attends such gatherings, he won’t be able to use his usual bellicose style.

He won’t utter hurtful words that start with, “I am telling you, O KIlIdaroIlu (or Baheli).” Presidency will certainly limit his scope of maneuvering.

He will be walking on an expensive silk carpet, but he can only receive diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors, and he cannot wage political wars.How can he build New Turkey in the sumptuous halls of the presidential palace? I don’t think ErdoIan can answer this question.

In our political jargon, a president who works in harmony with the government is pejoratively referred to as a “notary public.” Thus, the president may be subjugated by the government, but the reverse is not true.

ErdoIan’s election victory is of great importance for the party he left behind. If the president will use the powers and authorities that are defined in the Constitution, these won’t be newly invented powers or authorities.

The president will concentrate on rerouting the popular support he enjoys to his party and try to use the government’s powers and authorities.It is reported that he may choose the next chairman of the party or prepare the list of deputy candidates or issue orders or instructions to the prime minister or ministers concerning matters that fall within their responsibilities.

As the executive and even the legislature is subordinated to the prime minister, the de facto intervention by ErdoIan is quite broad. Thus, he may draft a bill and send it to the government so that it is passed by Parliament.

He may select the Cabinet’s members and he may remove dissident ministers from office. Via ministers, he may directly control the bureaucracy.

He may use the economic tools of the state and he may maintain his control over the private sectorIn short, New Turkey is just a de facto autocratic administration ErdoIan may pursue in breach of the law. But for this autocracy to be maintained, ErdoIan has to be able to keep his popularity at high levels.

The paradox is very strong: the presidency is not a place where he can maintain this popularity.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman