Motive behind debate over internal rules

Motive behind debate over internal rules

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Motive behind debate over internal rules

The opposition wing openly argues that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not move up to Çankaya with existing powers and that he will impose a ‘semi or full presidential system’ for Turkey within the new constitution writing process. AFP photo

Will Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan move up to the presidential palace in 2014? If he wants to, will he do it with existing powers, or will he suggest a change in the system as “presidential system” or “semi-presidential system”?

In the depths of the corridors of Parliament, this is the question that occupies minds, and an answer is being sought. There are more than two years before the presidential election, but in the 2020 vision of politics, starting with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition parties, the answer to many future calculations lies in the answer to this question.

In the AKP corridors, many say “Prime Minister Erdoğan likes ‘firsts.’ He will be the first president to be elected by popular vote and ascend to Çankaya.”

It is believed in the corridors of the opposition that the path to that process has been paved by stones laid out in 2012. These “road stones” are as such: “Restricting President Abdullah Gül’s presidential term with seven years; the fact that writing of the new constitution coincides with that period; starting debates on internal (parliamentary) regulations; the fact that strong emphasis is being loaded on the defective aspects of the system.”

The opposition wing openly argues that Erdoğan will not move up to Çankaya with existing powers and that he will impose a “semi or full presidential system” for Turkey within the new constitution writing process. In the corridors of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), similar views are frequently brought up. Moreover, with further interpretation, there are some who attribute the recent fight over internal regulations to this.
MHP deputy group head Mehmet Şandır openly said, “What was it the AKP wanted to do and these internal regulations stopped them from doing? The country has been run by this set of internal regulations for the past 10 years. Based on what probability are they imposing this? Despite all our efforts, the AKP does not compromise.” Şandır believes the government does not have a good will in this fight. He interprets the row over internal rules has started and despite all objections is being enforced as “preparatory work for the infrastructure of a presidential system.”

Şandır addressed the AKP as follows: “Have you decided on discrediting this Parliament or formulating that the work done in Parliament is unnecessary? Do you have any intention such as to prove that the parliamentary democratic system is no good, that society believes and accepts there is a need to move on to a new system, for example a presidential system? ”

MHP deputy Şandır’s concerns are shared by the opposition as well as some members of the Constitution Conciliation Commission. The commission will move on to writing context for the new constitution May 1. The expectation that there will be a “last minute attack” is high among the opposition members of the commission. One member asked this question: “If the AKP is sincere in making a new constitution, why does it not simultaneously form a commission for internal rules, but instead consistently impose those partial amendments that silence the opposition?”

In Parliament, both the government and the opposition, to a large extent, anticipate that Erdoğan will move up to Çankaya. But they cannot yet figure out in which system and with which powers.

Three-term debate in CHP

According to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) statute, a deputy who has been elected for three terms cannot run for office again. If the AKP does not lift this ban, then it will need to take down its prominent names from the party’s “front desk.” Debate is ongoing about a similar clause in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which is on its way to a congress solely allocated for amendments in its statute. There is no time restriction regarding CHP deputy candidacy. The inner party opposition also does not want such a restriction in the suggested amendments. But leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and his entourage are working on such a clause. There has not been a consensus yet on whether it will be for three or four terms.

‘Diplomacy’ Move from BDP

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), following the government’s decision to suspend its “Kurdish initiative,” has started an international diplomatic attack. BDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş held high-level discussions in the United Kingdom last week. The other co-leader, Gültan Kışanak, will also carry out several talks in Germany. After this, both co-leaders are expected to forge similar contacts in Belgium and France. A BDP delegation will meet northern Iraqi leader Masoud Barzani in Arbil to discuss the Kurdish International Conference. The foreign swing is designed to turn attention toward Turkey and increase awareness on the KCK operations and writing guarantees of Kurdish identity into the constitution.