Will there be any business for the 1150-room palace after the elections?
On June 7, most probably that building’s destiny will also be voted upon. The question ahead of us is this: After June 7, will there be enough work to fill the giant palace, the cost and the splendor of which is trying to be justified with an active presidential system?
There could be three options after the elections. One is that if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wins as many seats as the required number to change the constitution, then we will switch to the presidential system. In this case, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will find enough business for the palace. He may even transfer the parliament there and become the president of execution, legislation and also justice.
The second option is if the AKP cannot reach as many seats as required to change the constitution but gains a weak majority to form the government. Will there be enough work for the 1150 rooms of the palace?
I guess there is no problem in this either. Most probably, today’s “interim presidential regime” will continue. Its framework is already drawn. He has already gathered almost all those investing ministries under his supervision. When ministries are redundant, then there is no need to appoint somebody for the head of the cabinet. They would find a couple of symbolic offices in the palace for the symbolic prime minister and symbolic advisors. In other words, the 1150 rooms will not be vacant and out of business.
The problem lies in the third option. If there is no presidential system, what will happen to the 1150 rooms of the palace?
The third option is when the AKP does not have the majority to form the government alone. Then, the interim presidential regime collapses. The Office of the President is readjusted back to its constitutional framework. Then, we will start debating this question:
In budget debates in parliament, except for AKP members, since no deputy of sound mind will raise their hands to approve billions of Turkish Liras of a budget for the 1150-room palace and allocate a secret fund, what will happen to the palace then?
Will the President move back to Çankaya?
If he does, then will the 1150-room palace be made into an Anatolian Civilizations Museum?
Will it be transformed into the first 5-star plus hotel of Ankara?
Will all the ministries and the Office of the Prime Minister all move there and will the adjacent residence be allocated to the president with some parts of it made as working offices?
If I were Erdoğan, I would consider the third option very well and try to please Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as much as I can.
If the third option comes true after the elections, then sleepless nights are waiting for Davutoğlu.
Will he cast his vote in favor of Erdoğan during the budget talks in parliament, for him to stay in the palace? Or will he remember that Erdoğan has actually worked against him in every opportunity and very recently in the 4G incident?
Or will he think that this is a historic opportunity to get rid of this “older brother tutelage” and join the chorus of the “The Abduction from the Seraglio” opera?
If I were Erdoğan, I would really try to keep Davutoğlu happy these days…