Erdoğan now at odds with new Turkish Cypriot President

Erdoğan now at odds with new Turkish Cypriot President

Only three hours before getting into an exchange of words with new Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, elected only a day before with a clear 60 percent support, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan was at a ceremony at the Constitutional Court.

There, President of the Constitutional Court (AYM) Zühtü Arslan delivered a speech in the presence of Erdoğan, saying it would be wrong to press for a new constitution without a clearly defined separation of powers, in reference to Erdoğan’s earlier words about finding this separation wrong for the sake of a strong execution. Last week, Arslan made another statement saying it was not his court that demanded a constitutional amendment for individual application, in reference to statements from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government claiming that the AYM was in favor of a new constitution because of this reason.

Last week, the Armenian issue was the main reason of being at odds with a number of allies. Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Vatican and Vienna because of their recognition of the 1915 mass killings as genocide. Erdoğan has strongly criticized a number of countries from Germany to France for the same reason, finding consolation when U.S. President Barack Obama said everything else but the word genocide in English. 

But the judiciary and international relations were not the only areas where Erdoğan toughened his stance, in order to look more powerful in the eyes of the electorate, from whom he wants clear support for a new constitution based on a super-presidency after the June 7 elections.

For example Erdoğan repeated his bitter words against Cansen Başaran-Symes, the chairwomen of the Turkish Industrialists Association (TUSIAD), who happened to criticize the government’s policy because of the continuous depreciation of the Turkish Lira and rising inflation.

Returning to what happened yesterday, Erdoğan was asked a question (after the ceremony at the AYM) about the victory speech of Akıncı, who, the night before, said he favored a sisterly relationship with Turkey, instead of a mother-and-child relationship, the decades-long cliché of Turkey’s establishment. Actually, it was one of Akıncı’s election promises, together with more efforts for the reunification of the Turkish and Greek parts of the island. Erdoğan said he was not for a Cyprus solution at all costs.

By coincidence, Akıncı was on the line with CNN Türk during the afternoon news, where Akıncı repeated his words asking for a relationship with Turkey among equals. That made Erdoğan furious as he was leaving for Kuwait. “A child should behave like a child,” he said, also mentioning that it was the Turkish government who defended the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the international fora and provided financial assistance; not exactly words to win the hearts and minds of the Turkish Cypriots, let alone to make Turkish voters proud. 

It seems Erdoğan feels more pressure as Turkey is only one-and-a-half months away from elections, which may or may not bring him the super-presidency