New system resembles joint-stock company: Top presidential aide

New system resembles joint-stock company: Top presidential aide

Hande Fırat - ANKARA
New system resembles joint-stock company: Top presidential aide

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top aide Mehmet Uçum described the new executive presidential system as “a one-man government in political terms,” which paves way for an efficient execution by “collective and collaborative teamwork.”

“Managing the government like a joint-stock company when needed was a metaphor that was adopted in terms of performance and efficiency. It produces service in the private sector, and the government produces service in execution,” Uçum said in an exclusive interview on July 19.

“But producing service in execution has different characteristics. For example, you cannot work to make a profit. The basic variable of public service is to present the service to the public in an objective and just manner,” he said, adding that the comparison “is in operation.”

Turkey has officially shifted its executive system to a “presidential government system” on the terms of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after the constitutional amendment, which was approved in the April 2017 referendum and entered into force with Erdoğan’s inauguration on July 9.

Following the inauguration, Erdoğan has issued his first presidential decree. He reduced the 64 boards to nine while building four presidential offices, which work directly under his command. More than 100 directorates, as well as more than 30 related institutions, were abolished while the number of ministries was diminished to 16 from 21.

Uçum described the new structure as “simplification in terms of institutional structure, but strength in terms of authority and function.”

“The only will is the one elected by the public. [The president] will have a responsibility but [the president] being one [person] will not mean [he or she] will do everything themselves,” he said.

“Our new government model is a one-man government in political terms, but technically the government is a team,” said Uçum said.

“If there will not be any collaborative mechanism, the probability of the political will’s capacity to make mistakes will rise. These mistakes can transform into legal mistakes. For this reason, the political will, which has a responsibility for the people will have to ground their work on teamwork and strengthen inspection mechanisms so as not to make any political or legal mistake,” he said.

The new system is criticized by the opposition, which argues that it will harm the principle of separation of powers and create a one-man regime as there will not be any sufficient inspection mechanism for the president’s action.

Uçum said that if there will be any wrongdoing of the cadres of the presidency, “there will be consequences.”

“First, if there will be any deeds that are not in line with the political program, that person will be dismissed. There will be legal sanctions. Third, if there will be any action, which necessitates criminal measures, the criminal law will intervene,” he said.

“The legislative structure will not allow the election of a person as a government to become a one-man regime within a constitutional and election-based system,” he added.

In response to the question of whether the new system would produce “a confusion of authority in execution,” Uçum said, “the system has the facility to discharge what has produced clashes in individual choices.”

“When there will be a lack of harmony somewhere in the system, it will not be transformed into a systemic problem, it will be a problem of implementation. It means that those who create disharmony will go in one night, and those who do the work right will come,” he said.

Mehmet Uçum, presidential system, Erdoğan, Turkey, politics