What will the president do with the secret fund?

What will the president do with the secret fund?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was granted the power to use a “discretionary fund.” We knew that while he himself was the prime minister, he had made good use of this secret fund. The expenditures in the discretionary fund had expanded with a great speed during the Erdoğan era. 

Now, as a president he has the right to use the same fund. 

Up to this day, none of the past presidents had any need for the discretionary fund. Can the fact that a need has now arisen be associated with being a president elected through a popular vote?

No, I don’t think so. 

As a matter of fact, presidents do not need any discretionary fund because according to the constitution, the executive power belongs to government; the discretionary fund is used on the orders and instructions of the prime minister.

The reason for the increase in the extreme spending of the discretionary fund recently is no doubt associated with the political and military mobility in our region. 

The government, regardless of whether or not we approve of its policies, has the right to spend this secret fund to conduct its policies; the responsibility belongs to the prime minister. 

The president, according to the constitution, does not have any responsibility. Not having any responsibility does not mean a license to “do irresponsible things.”

What could be the meaning of a fund granted to the president which cannot be held accountable, the amount of which is indefinite and where the spending cannot be known or controlled? 

It is the prime minister anyways who would allocate money from this secret fund for all the operations the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the police and the army would need to conduct covertly. 

Does the president want to conduct discretionary operations without the knowledge of the prime minister so that he has the need for a discretionary fund? 

Where Davutoğlu draws the line 

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said he personally wrote the section concerning the presidential system in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) election manifesto. He said, “I will work on it some more and finish it.”

This story was applauded in the pro-government media. Other papers, naturally, focused on whether this topic would be included or not in the manifesto. 

However, there are sections that need to be highlighted in the PM’s statement that day. 

In his speech, Davutoğlu said, “I would not allow the weakening of the position I am occupying, whatever it is. I am not meaning our president. I would not allow anybody else saying what our president should be saying. I would not have anybody else say to me what the president needs to say or what needs to be said publicly by the president.”

He went on, “My duty is to be the prime minister correctly. In the current system, the prime minister has the responsibility. I am obliged to do the best I can. I cannot act as if I am in another system while I am the prime minister.”

Who these messages were meant for does not require elaborate exam questions. These words were not meant for Bülent Arınç, Melih Gökçek or Hüseyin Çelik. 

I am not pointing to that because I want to “make mischief,” but it is the president all these words were aimed at, obviously. 

In polite language and keen to stay within the boundaries of respectfulness, Davutoğlu is noting the duties and responsibilities of the sides within the current constitutional system. 

Since this aspect was overlooked by the papers, I wanted to make a reminder in this column.