Erdoğan: I will not be an impartial president

Erdoğan: I will not be an impartial president

Erdoğan: I will not be an impartial president

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan greets members of Parliament from his ruling AKP, as he arrives for the parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, July 8. AA Photo

Presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again stressed that he will be partial if elected to the presidency next month, arguing that no presidents in Turkey's history have ever actually been impartial, as required by law.

“Here, I once more state that if this brother of yours is elected, he will not be an impartial president. There are two sides. The first one is the nation and the second one is the state. There will be a president who takes the side of the nation. This is the difference. That is what both Turkey and our democracy is in need of. This state has always been the state of its nation. From Aug. 10, Inshallah it will once more begin being the state of its nation,” Erdoğan said July 8, reflecting his ambition for an outright victory in the first round of the two-round election on Aug. 10.

“When it was first established, it was written on the wall of Parliament that ‘Sovereignty belongs to the nation.’ Isn’t it still this way?” he said, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), one week after being officially announced as its presidential candidate on July 1.

Arguing that throughout the history of the republic, the country was usually ruled according to the wishes of an elitist class who had held the political and military power of the state, Erdoğan indicated that it was his AKP government which changed the course of affairs when they came to power after being elected for the first time in 2002.

“But we are coming from within the nation. We are the nation itself. The nation has established the AK Party and its fabric is woven by the nation,” Erdoğan said. “Just as the nation is able to elect its deputy and designate its government, it will much more easily and much more comfortably elect its president; it designates him too,” he said, claiming that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) still held the conviction that “the nation cannot make a good choice,” noting that it once presided over a one-party state.

“Now, they have been insisting on something like ‘the president above and out of politics.’ So to speak, they are trying to elect a ‘vase,’ a ‘flower pot,’ for the showcase of the Republic of Turkey, but not a president,” Erdoğan said, using a phrase that is widely used in Turkish to describe a person who does not take the initiative. He indicated that the Turkish people will not be electing “an ornamental president” when they go to the ballot boxes next month.

The Turkish president will be directly elected by voters for the first time in the history of the country next month. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu is the joint candidate of the two largest opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Erdoğan’s remarks were an unveiled reference to the portrayal of his main competitor İhsanoğlu as an impartial statesman.

“Were Mr. [Süleyman] Demirel and Mr. [Ahmet Necdet] Sezer impartial presidents?” he asked, referring to outgoing President Abdullah Gül’s predecessor Sezer and Sezer’s predecessor, Demirel. “Didn’t they have sides? We know about all of them. None of them were above politics, they all had a policy; but their policies matched with the state, not with the nation,” he said.

The oath

According to Article 103 of the Constitution, on assuming office, the president shall take an oath before the Parliament.

Some analysts argue that Erdoğan’s stance objecting to the idea that the president shall not be involved in politics is in contradiction with the line in the oath which particularly highlights that the president shall perform his duties “without bias.”

“In my capacity as president, I swear upon my honor and integrity before the Turkish Grand National Assembly and before history to … do my utmost to preserve and exalt the glory and honor of the Republic of Turkey and perform without bias the functions that I have assumed,” states the oath.