The silver lining
Whatever happened in the handover of power inside the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) technically has nothing to do either with true democracy or the Constitution.
But that is not the issue any more. I will be absolutely thrilled to hear what dear Mr. Tarhan Erdem, the founder of the now infamous polling company KONDA, has to say about all of this. After all, he was the first to raise the red flag when he said, “I will be up in arms if [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan does not resign from his post as PM and continues, thus breaching the Constitution.” The wise man I had adored, the “oracle,” is nowhere to be seen now. I do read his column on Radikal.com.tr, which is again back to constantly criticizing the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Now, he is back to business as usual.
However, Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu’s mandate will be an interesting and encouraging one. Above all, the tone of the discourse will be remarkably different. If you do not know the meaning of “epistemology” to start with, you should not try to appear in all those talking-heads-barking-noises kind of talk shows anymore.
Davutoğlu’s intellect and knowledge of history practically knocks down everyone inside Erdoğan’s Cabinet. It is this that may be his biggest challenge. All of a sudden, Cabinet meetings will not be all about construction projects, interest rates or conspiracy theories anymore. To be able to make a presentation there, you will really have to have your facts straight.
Also, expect more than weekly poll result discussions in Davutoğlu Cabinet meetings. His facts are set and he will not be shy about going against popular thinking. Mr. Yalçin Akdoğan and his comrades will have to do a bit more thinking above the standard Erdoğan “talking points” or “party ideology.”
Davutoglu’s credibility outside Turkey, despite all the criticism of his “zero-problems” policy, is still high compared to others. Western capitals see him as a clean character, who sometimes sticks too much to his principles. But then again, this credit makes him a more approachable and a predictable leader than President Erdoğan now.
The first challenge to Davutoğlu’s arguments will come during the NATO Summit. The Dutch Parliament has already announced that it will not renew the Patriot systems’ mission in Turkey. Mete Yarar, a former Major in the Special Forces, told me the Netherlands would not make this kind of a decision alone. “It probably shows the sentiment inside NATO. I would not be surprised if the Germans and Americans follow the same line” Yarar said. “And this is an early warning sign of some foreign policy challenges ahead."
The road ahead may be a tough one for Prime Minister Davutoğlu, but at least the arguments and the brainwork behind it are worth all the effort.