Separation of powers cherished in France

Separation of powers cherished in France

Let’s go back a week. We were all involved in the operation to relocate the Süleyman Shah Tomb. One exactly the same days, a number of important developments were happening in Syria.

Feb. 23: A French parliamentary delegation went to Syria. The two countries have not had relations since 2012, so this was the first time a French delegation of “elected deputies” had visited Syria since then. It caused a storm. French President François Hollande was angry. The French Foreign Ministry was expected to issue a harsh statement, but when the statement came later its tone was quiet soft. “The visiting delegation did not convey any official message,” it said.

Here is the sentence that grasped my attention: “This delegation traveled in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers.”

This sentence was clear. It was saying: “Here is a semi-presidential system, but we have the separation of powers. Even if President Hollande is very angry about it, if the parliamentarians want to go to Syria, they will do so.”

Feb. 27: The headquarters of the Hazm movement, which was formed last year, trained in Turkey and became one of the most important “moderate Syrian opposition groups,” was taken over by al-Nusra, a pro-al-Qaeda movement.

According to serious sources, the Hazm movement joined al-Nusra along with all its weapons.
The meaning of this is that the movement called the “moderate opposition” now has no chance left in Syria. One portion will join radical Islamist groups; others will eventually join the ranks of Bashar al-Assad. The world understands this. What about Turkey?

However, there are some good signs in Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Saudi Arabia was useful. It could be considered the first important step to making up for Turkey’s loneliness in the Arab world.

Erdoğan’s words on Egypt on his way back from Saudi Arabia could be regarded as the first sign of a thawing on this matter. He said two things: First, low-level contacts may start with Egypt. This is a wise move. Second, he addressed the Egypt administration and advised them to “be moderate toward the opposition.”

The style and the tone were extremely soft and constructive. This was a realistic move.

Turkey is giving signals that it will join the operation to take back Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This is the step that would save Turkey from its “honorable loneliness” to a “wise unity.”  

Meanwhile, the visit of Doğu Perinçek and friends to Damascus is a positive step. It was a move that shows the Turkish people are not monolithic, thus adding some flexibility to foreign policy.

Al-Assad’s words to the visiting Turks were very moderate and constructive. This was also a positive development, realistic, constructive, wise and logical for the future.

Non-stop embedded journalists

My fellow Hürriyet columnist Akif Beki is one of the standard names of the “flying journalists” who accompany the “A330” jet. I love reading his columns because thanks to him we receive colorful and meaningful news from “inside.”

We learned from his column on Thursday that the journalists accompanying President Erdoğan in the presidential jet A330 returned from Saudi Arabia with the president and continued on the same plane to the Unites States without resting, this time accompanying Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

The first interpretation may be that the top administration of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) trusts only these journalists. The second interpretation may be that the prime minister, by taking over the presidential journalist crew, in a way maintains good relations with Erdoğan.

It is indeed a very advantageous situation for any journalist on board. But playing devil’s advocate, let’s consider their situation in terms of aviation rules and in terms of human rights.

Because of the working hours, the flying crew must have changed on their return from Saudi Arabia. When the flight crew was changed, was it correct for the journalist crew to continue without resting? The journalist crew should also be renewed, according to aviation writer Uğur Cebeci.

There is another risk: God forbid if, due to exhaustion, they utter a word that should not be said to the prime minister and the president gets angry.