Coercing the prime minister

Coercing the prime minister

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım is a politician who likes to joke. It is a good thing that politicians have fun and joke around. The prime minister is such a politician. He does not strain himself to gain more respect and importance. He knows that positions are temporary. This is a good feature. 

I read in newspaper reports that during the traditional April 23 episode when “a child becomes the symbolic prime minister,” he made a joke. It is not too difficult to imagine that those who were present in the office of the prime minister at the time laughed hard at the joke. When a top-position person makes a joke, even if it is a bad one or an outdated one, it is the “golden rule of bureaucracy” that you should laugh. 

Well, but, you should not exaggerate. You should not laugh out loud gesturing with your hands. Moderate laughter is enough. But a smile is not adequate; otherwise, it could be suggested that you did not laugh at the bigwig’s joke, which could, in turn, translate into a negative point on your unwritten employment record. 
When too many questions were asked to 11-year-old fifth grader Yağız Efe Keçe, who symbolically took the prime minister’s position, about the education system, Prime Minister Yıldırım said, “Even my ministers don’t give me this hard of a time.” 

I am guessing he must have made the bureaucrats present in the office laugh. 

Well, if I were in their shoes, I would not have laughed at this because, at the same time, this reveals a bitter truth. 

This stems from the obligation that instead of joint work in conducting government activities, one has to fall into line with one person’s word. 

Nevertheless, we do not need to worry about this anymore. The constitution has been amended; soon, the “dual headedness” will be removed.

A reform for YSK 

Despite the law’s definitive provision stating that “ballots without official stamps are not valid,” the Supreme Election Council’s (YSK) decision to accept such ballots as valid has caused a debate concerning the referendum results. 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) seems to be forcing legal remedies, a process that will not result in success. As a matter of fact, the YSK decisions are definitive; this is also a constitutional provision. 

The fact that YSK has violated the law and that it has placed itself in the position of a legislative body does not change this situation. For this reason, even if we discuss for years whether or not irregularities occurred in the referendum, this will not have a legal consequence. 

However, this poses a new issue for the future. An arrangement has to be made so that nobody will doubt that future elections are conducted in absolute confidence. In this context, we have to reconsider the structure of the YSK. 

The issue is that the YSK is both the administrative organ that conducts the elections and the top judicial body that exercises judicial supervision. 

The YSK made an administrative decision and ruled that ballots without unsealed ballots would be valid. And then, it handled the objection to this decision, this time as a judicial body.  Its decision is definitive; there are no objections to YSK decisions. 

If we do not want to face similar types of issue in the future, the administrative organ to conduct elections should be separated from the organ that has the power of judicial supervision.

It should not be difficult for all political parties to reach a consensus on such a matter. Ensuring fair elections is one of the most important issues for a democracy. 

Faces and sides 

Professor Yılmaz Esmer from Bahçeşehir University conducted an experiment for his survey on “Polarization in Turkey.” He took the pictures of the heads of the 20 biggest provinces of the AKP and CHP from their own websites and showed them to subjects who have never seen these people before. The participants were asked to identify which of the photos were AKP or CHP members. 

In the end, 75 percent of the subjects made correct matches. 

Later, the photos of the members of the Constitutional Court were shown to the participants. They were asked to identify which judges were the ones who decided to release journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. In the end, 85 percent of the participants made correct guesses. Only by looking at photos! 

We have reached the stage where we can correctly guess, just by looking at people’s faces, whether they are from “us” of from “them.” This same experiment has been conducted in countries such as the United States, Switzerland and Germany; in none of them were Turkey’s rates reached.