Erdoğan’s presidency is AKP’s priority in new charter

Erdoğan’s presidency is AKP’s priority in new charter

We have welcomed the new political season Monday with the opening of Parliament where President Abdullah Gül openly challenged the ruling party on some very important issues. Gül’s 36-minute speech came only a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s emotional, overenthusiastic address to his party’s convention in which he was elected as chairman for the last time.

Gül’s short, but substantial statement included some very important notification to the government on a number of issues including freedom of expression and press, the European Union, the new charter, foreign policy, economy and etc. He said everything Erdoğan would not hear and no one except him could dare to say.

Of all the issues Gül raised, two of them — Turkey’s ties with the EU and new constitution — are particularly important. The president called the Parliament “to, once again, give priority to EU Harmonization laws and reforms and to translate them into concrete progress for all citizens.”
Gül’s advice is not for nothing. No particular attention was paid to the EU dimension during last year’s legislation process, despite the obligation that all draft laws should go through the EU harmonization body.

The second advice Gül gave was about the new constitution. “The text that will emerge must include common views upon which there is an agreement to the greatest extent possible,” he said, adding “We must enact a new citizenship contract through a freedom based constitution that guarantees rights and freedoms for all and does not exclude anyone.”

Prime Minister Erdoğan’s address to his parliamentary group is proof to Gül’s timely warning on the constitution. For the first time, Erdoğan set a deadline for the constitutional commission and implied that his party will walk out if the writing process could not be finalized before the end of this year.
Recalling that Erdoğan already mentioned his Plan B if interparty efforts fail, one could be concerned that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) could move forward with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the new constitution as two parties seats suffice to adopt it.

For obvious reasons, an AKP-MHP constitution will not be the best remedy for the solution of fundamental problems, like the Kurdish question.

It’s much more visible that Erdoğan’s priority with regard to the new constitution is replacing the existing presidential system with the presidential or semi-presidential one. In any case, the AKP pundits continue to mull how they could secure Erdoğan’s continued membership to the party in his potential presidency, just like former presidents Atatürk, İsmet İnönü and Celel Bayar enjoyed until 1961.

Erdoğan’s words yesterday speak for themselves: “In this regard, we will really live a presidential election which has historical importance. As the AK Party [AKP], we will leave this process behind in the most ideal way and we will again show a successful performance by putting our signature under ‘firsts.’”