New government to focus on EU and Kurdish bid
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu arrives to announce his new government in Ankara on Aug. 29. AFP PHoto / Adem AltanTurkey’s 62nd government, led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, is set to outline its program on Sept. 1, placing strong emphasis on the “new Turkey” theme as well as boosting the Kurdish peace process, European Union accession talks, and bringing about fresh economic reforms.
As a continuation of previous Justice and Development Party (AKP) administrations, Davutoğlu’s government will also pursue its struggle against the “parallel structure,” a reference to the individuals working in the state apparatus who are affiliated with Fethullah Gülen, a self-exiled cleric in the United States.
The General Assembly is set to convene in an extraordinary session at 2.00 p.m. on Sept. 1 so that Prime Minister Davutoğlu can read out his government’s program. According to Parliament’s internal regulations, a debate on the program will take place on Sept. 4 and the confidence vote will take place on Sept. 6.
Before reading his program, Davutoğlu will convene his Cabinet for the first time at 10.00 a.m. At the meeting, ministers will review the government’s program and will make last minute updates in any areas that they regard as necessary. After this, Davutoğlu will also convene the AKP’s parliamentary group before speaking at the General Assembly.
A team of advisors has long been working on the writing of the program after Davutoğlu was announced as the next chairman of the AKP and the prime minister. Although this program will be valid only for 10 months due to the upcoming parliamentary elections, many in Ankara believe that it will be substantial and assertive and in line with the reformist spirit of all AKP governments.
In a long address to the AKP’s extraordinary convention last week, Davutoğlu chose to focus on his views about the future of Turkey under the same title of “restoration of the country,” placing the stress on the idea of the “new Turkey.”
Program to focus on ‘new Turkey’
The concept of the “new Turkey” is a continuation of previous AKP governments’ well-known “2023 vision,” a set of targets outlined to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
The election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the presidency as the first ever Turkish head of state to be directly elected by the votes of citizens is regarded as the first step in the formation of what AKP officials call the “new Turkey.” In his program read at Parliament, Davutoğlu is sure to underline this achievement, but will also recall that the completion of the targeted process to change Turkey to a presidential system can only be possible with a new Constitution. Therefore, the program is expected to underline the need for a new charter, although there will not be enough time to push a constitutional amendment before next year’s general election in June.
Kurdish bid a priority
One of the new government’s priority areas will also be the continuation of the Kurdish resolution process, in line with expectations that the talks are set to enter a new stage as the government outlines a new road map on the issue.
Davutoğlu has repeatedly expressed his determination to complete the process, and as a sign of the significance he attaches to the dossier, Yalçın Akdoğan, one of his closest colleagues in the party, has been appointed as deputy prime minister responsible for the negotiations.
EU ‘strategic objective’
The government program will also place the EU accession process among its priorities, in line with earlier promises to make 2014 Turkey’s “EU year.” The appointment of Volkan Bozkır as the new EU minister is seen an important development to this end, with the government expected to once again express its determination to accelerate the negotiation process and open more chapters. In his first statement after being appointed, Bozkır described EU accession as “Turkey’s strategic objective.”
Key foreign policy issues will also be reviewed in the government program, as a series of burning issues build up in Turkey’s immediate neighborhood.
The economy will also be highlighted in the government program, which is expected to detail measures aimed at fostering a boom to help Turkey become one of top 10 global economies by 2023, one of the government’s central targets.
Fight against ‘parallel state’
One of the indispensable areas that Davutoğlu will cover in the government program will be the efforts to clear state institutions of the members of the “parallel state.” He has repeatedly made clear that he will show zero tolerance to those loyal to the Gülen community rather than the state, referring to it as a threat to national interests.