Is the target to prevent the presidential system?

Is the target to prevent the presidential system?

Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş’s statements on the capital punishment, referendum and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli caused a minor tremor in politics. 

The day the interview with Türkeş was published at the beginning of the week, there was a cabinet meeting. In this meeting, it was not Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım who referred to the topic, but certain cabinet ministers sniped at Tuğrul Türkeş asking, “What is happening to Deputy PMs?” Türkeş answered them, according to reports, saying, “My duty is to be an insurance; I thus am the insurance.” The other deputy PM the cabinet ministers referred to was Mehmet Şimşek. 

Apparently, it was not only the social media that Mehmet Şimşek’s tweet has shaken, the one that went, “The EU economy is not collapsing; on the contrary, it is a success story.” 

I spoke to Tuğrul Türkeş and he said, “I have fulfilled my warning duty. As a person knowing the MHP and Mr. Bahçeli, if I hadn’t made the warning then it would have been my mistake.” 

His statements though have caused huge annoyance at the MHP front. This frustration of the MHP has also been conveyed to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). For this reason, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, in his weekly parliamentary group speech, said, “I thank Mr. Bahçeli for his positive and constructive stance for the future of the country and the interests of the country.”  

In the group parliamentary group meeting, deputies were interested in Türkeş’s statements. They pointed out at the need for consultations on key issues. Those in the government and in the party administration reacted against Türkeş. There were frowns with assessments such as “Because he came from MHP, he is disturbed with the convergence with Bahçeli.”

The proclamation of Tuğrul Türkeş caused tension on both sides but did not make a road accident. The day his interview was printed, “confidence” messages were issued mutually. I did not observe any “alarm” situation on the president’s front and the AK Party against Bahçeli. On the contrary, they consider Bahçeli as a trustworthy leader. They said, “The work for the presidential system has reached an irrevocable point.”
On Nov. 28, Monday, delegations from both parties conducted a joint working session. The work of the delegations has finished, now it is up to the leaders. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli will get together and finalize the package. 

However, problems were not overcome at the joint session. Two issues stand out as unsolved. One of them is the issue of the president being the chair of a political party. MHP does not oppose to the president being a member of a political party; but their opinion is that when the president is the head of a party, that would cast a shadow on the impartiality principle. Well, is this sine qua non, an indispensable condition for AK Party? Yes, it is. If the process fails, it could be because of this clause. AK Party sees the president’s being the chair of the party as a sine quo non, an absolute must.  

AK Party has assessments such as, “We are transforming to the presidential system. For this reason, we are removing the clause that was valid for the parliamentarian system that the president should cut his/her ties with any political party. A president who is a party member should also be able to chair the party. If the president and the chair of the party are two different persons then there will be a dual structure. When the president and the chair of the party disagree then there could be friction. What will happen if the head of the party expels the president from the party?”

In the subject of trying the president, AK Party wants a stepped system to be used, the ratios in the article 105 of the Constitution to be maintained. 

An inner party criticism from the AK Party, on the other hand, is that while the president is from the government, he or she can select ministers from the parliament. There is no figure or a ratio in here. Those who defend the arrangement are saying, “This will open the way for those experienced deputies in the parliament to become ministers.” Others disagree because they find this contrary to the spirit of the presidential system. 

If we are to go back to square one, certain voices rose concerning the presidential system and the capital punishment are not only seen as criticisms limited to these issues. These kinds of outbursts are taken seriously. They are evaluated as movements toward stirring the party before the presidential system. With the famous slogan of the time, “The target is to block presidential system; this is the meaning you derive from this.”