Can presidential elections be a suprise?
GOKSEL BOZKURT ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan says that the presidential term is seven years. AA photoWhile debates on President Abdullah Gül’s presidential term are ongoing, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned seven years for the first time. Erdoğan’s Çankaya (the presidential mansion) calculations have postponed the confirmation of this subject until the beginning of 2012.
In the first week of January, the Parliamentary Constitutional Commission will meet and will make alterations to the Constitution so that Gül’s presidential term ends in 2014. But this will not end the debates; on the contrary, it will rekindle them. It is highly probable that the opposition will take the amendment to the Constitutional Court.
Obviously, Erdoğan’s Çankaya calculations will radically change the equilibriums starting from the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Several assumptions, estimations and questions are voiced in the corridors and lobbies of politics…
Will Erdoğan ascend to Çankaya? If he is going to try this, will he do this to be the first president elected by popular vote? Will Gül lead the party, if that is the case? If Erdoğan is elected, can he stay in Çankaya as an “unauthorized” and “ineffective” president? Will he say “yes” to Gül’s leading the AKP? Or will he support another name loyal to him? Will he make use of the writing of a new constitution and propose a presidential or semi-presidential model? Will he retreat and set up a foundation and devote himself to social affairs, justifying his move with the “three-term principle” of the AKP statute?
Nobody but Erdoğan knows the answers to these precise questions whispered in the deep corridors of the AKP. The main reason of the intraparty tension is based on this. Because Erdoğan is not sharing his game plan with anybody, his close aides are stumbling. A leading AKP official said, “If the three-term principle stays valid, only a few ministers such as Ahmet Davutoğlu, İsmet Yılmaz, Erdoğan Bayraktar and Ertuğrul Günay will be able to continue among the 25 ministers. The others have to wait a term. There are many people in this situation in the party. “
If that statute article stays, the core administration of the AKP will be empty by the first elections. Several important names such as Bülent Arınç, Ali Babacan, Binali Yıldırım and Hayati Yazıcı from the Cabinet as well as Speaker of Parliament Cemil Çiçek and Hüseyin Çelik and Mehmet Ali Şahin from the party organization will not be able to run for office. A total of 74 deputies are covered by this rule. In other words, those names that have moved the AKP to its present position have to withdraw. There are those who want the ban to be lifted but Erdoğan is resisting…
One of the AKP founders, Cüneyt Zapsu is one of those names who know Erdoğan closely. He spoke in the southeastern city of Kahramanmaraş the other day, saying, “Talk to people who know the prime minister well. If there is a major announcement to be made at 12:00, even if the time is 11:59, nobody knows for sure. This includes his wife also. He says nothing to anybody. Will he become the president? Everybody says he will be, but he can draw back at the last minute and may not become the president.” Erdoğan had retreated into a similar silence until the last moment during Gül’s Çankaya candidacy.
AKP is waiting for Erdoğan’s decision. And, it seems as if the Çankaya process will be painful in terms of the AKP. The cards will be reshuffled whether or not Erdoğan ascends to Çankaya. Erdoğan may give clues during the 2012 autumn congress about the changes in the party’s core administrators and in the cabinet and what his decision for 2014 will be. Expectations in the AKP corridors are all in that direction… Just as Zapsu, many AKP members agree that the surprise-loving Erdoğan will surprise everybody.
Core positions in opposition may change soon
The “extreme nationalist” wing within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is pressing for an exclusive congress to discuss statutes with external support from former leader Deniz Baykal and former general secretary Önder Sav. Their aim is to make the statutes they have created “more democratic” so that they can maintain the supporter balance and gain advantages in the party general assembly for the main congress. Because CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu knows this, he is opposing them. It is being whispered in the corridors that Kılıçdaroğlu is highlighting the names of some opponents in an effort to break the group’s resistance and prevent the opposition from growing.
ECHR option to confront France’s decision
Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir Deputy Rıza Türmen is an experienced European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judge. He said the motion adopted in the French Parliament that criminalizes the denial of Armenian genocide claims can be taken to court. Türmen said it could be an individual’s case or it could be that of the state, but a state case could also have a political bill.
Türmen suggested another avenue: He said a case could be opened in the International Court of Justice after recognizing the authority of the court. The government is said to have noted Türmen’s options. My guess is that the government is waiting for the French Senate’s decision.