Blueprint for Turkey’s new cabinet system
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched his election campaign on May 26 in the eastern province of Erzurum, where the strong support given by party supporters boosted his morale.
Erdoğan is reserving his last week of campaigning for activities in Istanbul, visiting a number of districts and neighborhoods across the city for rallies. “Whoever loses Istanbul, loses Turkey,” is Erdoğan’s saying. He is also the architect of the strategy that “Who wins Istanbul, wins Turkey.”
Launching his election campaign, Erdoğan engaged in polemics with his rivals. It looks like his primary target will be Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). In Erzurum, Erdoğan responded to İnce’s statement that he would halt the “indigenous car” project. Throughout the campaign Erdoğan will look to take advantage of the polarization between the CHP and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Considering the election manifestos and the manifestos declared by their presidential candidates, the opposition parties’ rhetoric and promises are based on two main themes: The cancellation of mega projects and proposing to reinstall the old parliamentary system as a new system.
Some of the opposition candidates are against the high-speed train between Ankara and Sivas; others are against the Çanakkale Bridge and Kanal Istanbul. But people do not vote for politicians who cancel investments. Investments mean job creation and economic growth. Why would people in Çanakkale vote for the candidate who vows to cancel the Çanakkale Bridge project? Why would people in Sivas vote for the candidate who is against the high-speed trains? Why would people in Istanbul vote for the candidate who promises to stop Kanal Istanbul and shelve the indigenous car project?
Should not the opposition candidates try to convince people that they would do better than Erdoğan? When I worked as a politics reporter I mainly followed Süleyman Demirel and Turgut Özal. They would constantly talk about investments, making the pie larger, and boosting the middle class. That was how they won elections. Has Erdoğan not won consecutive elections by promising all these? Did not the left in Turkey lose elections because it was against the Bosporus Bridge and the Keban Dam? If his opponents do not change their strategies Erdoğan will continue to exploit this.
We are focused on June 24, but Turkey will be adopting a new system after the polls, in which the president will preside over the government. The AKP is working on the new system, considering a cabinet dominated by people with strong executive skills and technocrats.
The president will lead the system. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the General Staff will report to the president, who will also control the defense industry. The president will have four vice presidents who will head the department of planning and enhancement of administration, the department of development or tourism, the Religious Affairs Directorate, and the supreme boards.
The system of ‘14 plus 4’
There will be 14 ministries under the presidential system. The names of some ministries will be changed while others will be merged. As a result of the changes, the ministries will be as follows: The Justice Ministry, the EU Affairs and Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the National Education and Sports Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Family, Youth and Social Security Ministry, the Scientific Research and Technological Investments Ministry, the Energy Policies Ministry, the Treasury and Financial Affairs Ministry (the Customs and Trade Ministry will operate under this ministry), the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, the Agriculture, Forestry and Environment Ministry, the Transport, Maritime and Communications Ministry, and the Local Government and Urban Development Ministry.
This is only blueprint, but one thing is for sure: The number of ministries will be reduced. This system somewhat resembles the system in the U.K., but the difference is that the U.K has ministries for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Under the new system, ministers will also not be selected from among MPs. People from the private sector, universities and other parts of the society will be appointed as ministers based on their merit and qualifications.