Erdoğan’s chance of becoming a super-president is diminishing
Often described as Turkey’s most crucial polls, the June 7 elections will surely turn another page in the country’s always-shaky political nature. It would not be too wrong to say that there are in fact two different competitions.
The first one is between political parties, with the objective of getting the majority in parliament to become the government. The second one is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s challenge against all political parties, with the ultimate purpose of creating an environment in the parliament so that he could become a super-president at the expense of collapsing the existing parliamentary system.
It seems Erdoğan’s challenge against political system in Turkey also includes the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as its chairman. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, however, is openly very reluctant about making the adoption of presidential system the core of his election campaign. He never mentioned the presidential system in either his public rallies or his interview during the course of elections. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that Erdoğan’s challenge this way or another also includes his own political movement.
Having said that, this should not necessarily mean that the rhetoric of Erdoğan and Davutoğlu and the way they are trying to increase the votes of the AKP should not overlap. Their discourse contains almost similar issues with the exception of presidential system. Both men are trying to depict the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as a party linked with terrorists and no religious values, in order to keep the party below the 10 percent threshold. Both men opened a new war against the country’s independent media organizations like Doğan Media Group at the expense of giving a fresh and heavy blow to already deteriorated press freedom.
However, Prime Minister Davutoğlu seems disturbed that the June 7 elections will turn into a referendum in which Erdoğan’s ambition to become super-president will be put on a vote. It has its own rationality:
According to a survey carried out by prominent social and election researcher Bekir Ağırdır, 60 percent of the Turkish public is against the adoption of a presidential system. His research also indicates that public support for Erdoğan is decreasing with his frequent appearance in the political arena. Therefore, in line with the results of some public opinion surveys, it could be well estimated that the votes of the AKP will be around 40 percent or perhaps within two percent of this margin.
This percentage of vote will likely be insufficient for the AKP to introduce a constitutional amendment on its own, as the number of seats it can collect is less than 300 and slightly above the simple majority to form a government. Furthermore, three oppositional parties have already announced that they will not back any attempt to change current parliamentary system, thus diminishing Erdoğan’s chance to become the country’s first super-president.
Perhaps this will also be the best scenario for Davutoğlu and his team, who are seemingly becoming more distant from President Erdoğan and his strong team at the grandiose palace. In such a case, Davutoğlu would find a better environment where he can exercise his power and can become a real prime minister.