Is Putin-Medvedev model applicable to Erdoğan-Gül?
Russian elections resulted in a clear win for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party; he got some 49.5 percent of the votes.
But commentators do not describe this result as a victory since the United Russia votes dropped from 64 percent and the party lost its capability to change the constitution without support from other parties.
That is important because President Dimitry Medvedev, who had taken his chair from Putin, has already declared that his candidate for the next president would again be Putin. And Prime Minister Putin has not only accepted that, but also hinted that his candidate for prime ministry could be Medvedev, again.
In a way Russian voters approved this model, perhaps for the sake of stability, but did not let them rule the country without seeking consensus with other parties in the Russian parliament.
This picture of Russian elections has some similarities with the last Turkish elections in June 2011. In the Turkish case, Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) had increased its votes from 47 to 50 percent, but that was not enough to change the constitution without consensus from others.
Another similarity between Russian and Turkish politics is trying to be found nowadays by a number of political commentators; actually it is becoming the talk of the town in Ankara day by day.
The question is whether President Abdullah Gül will return to politics as the head of the AK Parti to become the prime minister while Erdoğan would be elected as president – if he could – in 2014.
The question is asked because the Putin-Medvedev model is found somehow reasonable by Russia’s political and financial counterparts; not only in the U.S. and European Union but in China and Japan as well. The key word is stability, rather than a full fledged democracy and as long as the free vote (amid claims of irregularity) is there, the global economic crisis leaves little place for niceties.
But is the Putin-Medvedev model applicable in the case of Erdoğan-Gül?
Gül was not carried into politics by Erdoğan, unlike Medvedev and Putin. In a way Medvedev submitted to Putin’s power, but what is between Erdoğan and Gül is closer than what is between comrades.
On the other hand this comradeship can lead the team of two to try to swap places for the sake of the attractive keyword of stability. Plus it can find approval among political and financial counterparts of Turkey in the East and West for the same reason.
There comes another question: What kind of effect will that have in Turkish politics, especially within the ruling AK Parti, simply because it kills upward mobility and thus the political appetite of other actors on the stage?
Yet it might be too early to discuss all these when the attention of the AK Parti supporters, like many of the citizens, are focused on the health of Prime Minister Erdoğan. Yesterday marked the third consecutive week without a cabinet meeting and the party priority now is to see him back in business.