President Erdoğan is right, in a way

President Erdoğan is right, in a way

I’m not being ironic. I’m not joking. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is right when he spoke about a “system change” in Turkey. Indeed, the situation has truly “changed.” 

Erdoğan was elected by popular vote last year. He received 52 percent of the vote. But right now, the first party in parliament got just over 40 percent of the votes in the June general election.

In other words, there is an “elected leader” who was honored with a majority of the votes of the population. 

But there is another reality: The constitution. The constitution is the mother of all laws ruling this country. Standing behind that constitution, there is a vote of 92 percent of the people. 

Which is bigger: 92 percent or 52 percent? 

There is another reality.

In the last elections, 60 percent of those who voted actually said “No” to the presidential system that Erdoğan wants. 

Let us ask then, which is bigger: 60 percent or 52 percent? 

Yes, there is an elected president, but we have to remind him that he first of all knew what his powers and responsibilities were before he ran for office. Second, after he was elected, he took an oath. One of his duties is to respect the constitution that was approved by 92 percent of the people. 

In short, Erdoğan certainly has the approval of 52 percent, but there are two bigger votes than this: The constitution voted for by 92 percent and the rejection of the presidential system by 60 percent. In other words, the constitution and the parliament are defeating Erdoğan.

That leaves him two options: Either the constitution will be amended to match his wishes or he will adapt to the constitution. 

Composition of the parliament 

Dear Turkish people, relax. You elected the most suitable parliament in our recent history on June 7. 

The parliament that was formed after the election has the most suitable composition of the past 30 years to get rid of the military constitution written in 1982. 

No one party in this parliament has the power to defeat the other by the sheer strength of their vote, or to impose their own wishes on others.  

It is the most representative parliament in years. It represents nearly 95 percent of the votes cast. 

This parliament could even solve the Kurdish issue.

A reminder of General Evren’s defense 

It is not up to me to advise President Erdoğan. But if it was, I would only tell him this: 

“Dear President, the ‘de facto’ concept that you used in your Rize speech; the one where you said, ‘The system has actually already changed.’ I would have thought twice before saying that…”

Do you know why? 

The definition of a coup d’état is as follows: “The annulment of a portion and/or the entire clauses of the constitution by force or de facto…”

If you read the definition carefully, you will notice that the “de facto” phrase does not explain a legal situation. On the contrary, it explains an “illegal” situation. 

If you have the power, you can use this phrase easily, because it means that you have weighed up the risks of its probable consequences. 

For example, remember the powerful General Kenan Evren who led the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. What did he say in his defense when he was being tried 30 years later? 

Something similar to this: “There was a de facto situation and I remade the constitution. In other words, I’m the founding father. You cannot try me.”

Moreover, he was able to write a constitution accordingly and he made the people approve it with a 92 percent majority. 

He even included a clause stating that he “could not be tried.” But years later he was tried. 

Force is like hammer. If you have it in your hand, you can hit someone in the head. But if someone else has it, the situation changes.

When power is in the hands of someone else, the definition of the new “de facto” situation is made by the new power. “Treason” is such a concept: It is defined by the dominant power. 

What I’m saying is that when using the phrase “de facto,” while creating “de facto” situations, and while ignoring the law, it is good to think twice.