Appointed vice-president with presidential powers

Appointed vice-president with presidential powers

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously said, “Let’s assume I will have one or two deputies. The president - me or somebody else - will have one or two deputies. When the president is abroad, then one of the two or the only one deputy will be the acting president.” 

As a matter of fact, if the constitutional changes are approved in the referendum, future presidents will be able to appoint as many deputies as they want, not two but 10 or even 20. 

The deputies will not only step in when the president is abroad but in any case the president is unable to do their jobs for any reason, the deputies will be able to use all the powers of the president. 

Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman has not been able to serve his duties since Dec. 26, 2016 because of his illness. He was initially hospitalized; and then his treatment went on for a long time. 

If Kahraman had been elected president according to the new system, Turkey would have been ruled for months by a vice-president who was not elected through an election. Who can guarantee that we will not encounter such a situation in the future? Late Turgut Özal lost his life when he was president. If this system was valid that day, in the 45 days prior to the elections, an appointed vice-president would be using presidential powers just like an elected president. 

This is one of the most inconvenient aspects of these constitutional changes. An unelected person will be able to use the powers of an elected president. 

Such a thing is not possible in a democracy. In all democratic countries ruled by the presidential system, the vice president is also elected just like the president; because one of the necessities of legitimacy in democracies is to take power following free elections. For vice-presidents not to be elected, but appointed, leads the country to be ruled by dynasties in the future. 

Look at the Aliyev dynasty in Azerbaijan. President Heydar Aliyev made his son prime minister, his son İlham Aliyev, after he became president, made his wife vice-president. 

Are we following Azerbaijan as a model? 

Justice in Turkey 

Dilek Doğan, when she told the police officers who came to search her family’s home at a late hour on Oct. 18, 2015 not to enter the house with their shoes on but to put on galoshes, was shot in the chest and killed by police officer Y.M. 

 In his immediate statement after the incident, the officer said he did not shoot Doğan, but his gun was taken from his hand and fired.  

A video footage shot during the incident was erased afterwards with the intention of saving the police officer, but when the images were recovered by the Gendarmerie Criminal unit, it was understood that the police was not telling the truth, Doğan was shot without being involved in any kind of resistance. 

According to the footage, a policeman carrying the camera said, “How can special forces do this?” 

In an indictment opened into the case, police officer Y.M. was demanded between 20 to 26.5 years on charges of “killing a person with negligent behavior.” 

The other day, a prosecutor’s office gave its opinion, which demanded two to six years for the police officer Y.M. –who is not under arrest currently- for involuntary manslaughter. 

This incident is a cliché in Turkey. The state does everything it can to protect its officials who have committed crimes, as long as the criminal is an “anti” person, a leftist or an opponent. 

For this reason, torture and maltreatment, as well as such extrajudicial killings as this one, will never end in Turkey. 

Campus attackers 

Students marking the March 8 International Women’s Day at Istanbul’s Bilgi University were attacked by a group of 20 intruders with knives. Some students were injured. 

There were students from the same university among the attacking group. News reports said six of the attackers were caught, but they were released by a prosecutor’s office after they gave statements with the police. 

We will follow whether or not the university will expel its attacker students. 

This incident did not erupt from clashing opposing groups. It was a planned attack against girls celebrating the special day. This incident and attackers should be taken seriously. Women’s Day cannot be marked with delivering speeches and at the same time ignoring such incidents.