Ruling without accountability is designed for dictators
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was angry at “being reminded of Yıldırım Akbulut” during a meeting he held with his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies.
Of course, his anger is no news; he can become angry at anything at any moment.
When a deputy asked, “What if, after you, a similar structure to Akbulut emerges, would our party experience the same problems the ANAP did in the past,” the PM responded, “Wait a minute.”
Then he continued, “We are not the ANAP or any other party. We are a unique party. Actually, when late Özal became the President, his party’s votes were dropping, whereas ours is rising. We are now at 46 percent; one in every two people is voting for us.”
The question the deputy asked was a very appropriate one, actually. The reason is that each and every statement of the prime minister shows that if he is elected president, he will not suffice with sitting at the Çankaya Presidential Mansion and carry out the duties written in the Constitution.
He will act as a de facto President in a presidential system and preside over the government. We understand that from his statements.
However, there is also the Constitution. Article 104 of the Constitution says this:
“The President of the Republic is the Head of the State. In this capacity he/she shall represent the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish Nation; he/she shall ensure the implementation of the Constitution, and the regular and harmonious functioning of the organs of State.”
Then, the Constitution lists which duties the president shall perform:
“To promulgate laws, to appoint the prime minister, to call new elections, to submit to referendums, if he/she deems it necessary, legislation regarding the amendment of the Constitution or to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Make certain appointments. To preside over the Council of Ministers or to call the Council of Ministers to meet under his/her chairmanship whenever he/she deems it necessary.”
When the prime minister says he will act like a president in a presidential system, this last duty is the one he is basing his argument on.
In other words, he is saying, “If I can preside over it when I deem necessary, I can rule the government.”
Well, but there is Article 105 of the Constitution, which says the following:
“All presidential decrees except those which the President of the Republic is empowered to enact by himself without the signatures of the prime minister and the minister concerned, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and other laws, shall be signed by the prime minister, and the ministers concerned. The prime minister and the ministers concerned shall be accountable for these decrees.”
In other words, if Erdoğan is elected president and tries to act like a president in a presidential system and rule the government, then this will happen: The drum will be hanging around the necks of the prime minister and the ministers, but Erdoğan will have the drumstick.
Since this is the picture, why he is angry at the analogy of “Akbulut;” is hard to understand.
What kind of a correlation is there with his party’s gaining 46 percent (43 percent according to another view) of the votes in last elections and the duties and powers of the president, the prime minister and the Cabinet minister that are written in the Constitution?
The vote that the ruling Justice and Development Party received can only be meaningful in one place: If the party has reached a majority enough to change the Constitution, then he will be able to change these duties and powers written in the Constitution according to a model that he has in his imagination.
As long as this amendment is not done, then everything he does in this context would be exceeding duties and powers and a practical consequence of this would be power chaos, a power struggle and the country becoming ungovernable.
On the other hand, the Constitution declares that the president cannot be held accountable for his ex officio actions. In other words, if Erdoğan’s dream comes true, he will do all kinds of actions and operations on behalf of the government, but he will not be held accountable.
We know that he gets very angry when we mention his tendency to become “authoritarian” and a “dictator.”
However, there is only one mandate in the world where one can be heading the executive organ, rule the country and not be accountable for them: In dictatorships!