Power in one hand

Power in one hand

“Those who are against the presidential system are wrong and unfortunately lying,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. 

Here is the gist of that group’s criticism though; this system accumulates power in a single hand, it aims at creating a one-man rule, whoever is elected, will establish an authoritarian regime if they get hold of those powers.

As a matter of fact, this is not an observation voiced only by those who say “no.”

“We are accumulating power to one person; so there will no longer be incidents like throwing the constitution booklet away,” Erdoğan said Feb. 18 at a rally organized under the name “opening ceremony.” 

He was referring to the economic crisis that sparked in 2001 when then-president Ahmet Necdet Sezer threw a constitution text to the representatives of the coalition government at a meeting.  

The subject of criticism is nothing but what the president has said, to have all power in one hand.

Meanwhile, preventing such incidents cannot be made possible by constitutional changes.

This is fore and foremost about political courtesy. In fact, throughout the republic’s history, such an incident occurred only once. Just once in 94 years.

So should we change the whole administrative and governance system of the country just for that? A person who will be elected for five years is going to rule the country with decrees without being held accountable by the parliament.

This is the criticism.

 “The president taking power for five years will fulfill his responsibilities without being held accountable to anyone but the people,” the president said at the rally. 

The president himself confirms the criticism that is being voiced. The president will be held accountable once in every five years from election to election.

Can we talk about effective accountability?

Who will look at how people’s taxes have been spent, what has been accomplished, whether there has been corruption or not in the course of those five years?

Where is the parliament?

The president in Malatya made reference to late President Turgut Özal, who was from Malatya, saying he would have dreamt of a similar system. This is wrong. Özal, in an interview, had talked about a system that ensured an effective checks and balances system. There are mountains of differences between the system envisaged by Özal and the one-man system to be put on the referendum in the forthcoming days.

Kurtulmuş is making a mistake

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the new constitution would bring a system that would disable paving the way for coups.

I do not understand how he arrived at this conclusion. It seems to want to defend the changes to be brought to referendum, but does not know how to do it; so he just voices such an argument.

I would like to remind Kurtulmuş that systems controlled by one hand are those more prone to coups. 
Daily Hürriyet columnist Taha Akyol wrote about it yesterday. A change of governments through military coups are more often seen in countries governed by presidential systems.

This is not a coincidence.

In fact, we should not call it a presidential system, we should describe it as “systems where power is accumulated in one hand.”

Whether it is parliamentary or presidential, if the separation of powers are secured and checks and balances mechanisms function efficiently, crises do not turn into a regime crisis.

Because the system itself finds and creates ways to overcome these crises.