For a governable and predictable Turkey

For a governable and predictable Turkey

Turkey will go to the polls to elect the president and the parliament next Sunday on June 24. A rather short pre-election campaign held by the candidates to the president and the parliament has re-surfaced Turkey’s fundamental and growingly acute problems.

It is necessary to analyze the period between April 2017 and June 2018 in order to try to forecast the post-election Turkey economically, politically, and socially, regardless of who will come to power. As can be recalled, the Turkish people voted in favor of constitutional amendments in a controversial referendum on April 16 last year that shifted the governance system from a parliamentary to an executive-presidency model.

This change has been defined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a Turkish model presidential system with the objective of stabilizing the rule and therefore boosting Turkey’s development process. However, in fact, this system was designed to consolidate the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through making traditional checks-and-balances mechanisms nonfunctional and reducing the authorities of the parliament to impose an effective scrutiny on the executive.

In early May 2017, Erdoğan was re-elected as the chair of the AKP and therefore, marked the partial beginning of the implementation of the new governmental system. Everything we have been through since that day can give us sufficient material and thoughts on why this new executive-presidency system would lead to a further ungovernable and unpredictable Turkey after the June 24 elections. Contrary to what the ruling party officials suggest, stability in the government alone is not enough to run a country and its economy.

One of the immediate consequences of this new government system was a speedy erosion of state institutions and degrading economic and democratic standards, which could potentially drag Turkey into what many political analysts call “the ungovernability syndrome” if no action is taken to reverse this situation.

There are two main political blocks in the race for government: Erdoğan and the alliance he built with the nationalists continue to promote this very system in post-election Turkey, although they hint they can take some important decisions particularly on the economy once elected. Erdoğan said twice that the state of emergency will not be extended, although his party’s election manifesto, which was announced in early May, had suggested the continuation of this rule since it did not have any pragmatic impact on the daily and economic life in Turkey.

The other political block composed by opposition parties, on the other hand, promises to re-instate the parliamentary system by strengthening it with more democratic touches. However, they need to have at least 400 seats in the parliament to change the system once again. No public opinion surveys suggest so.

This general picture on Turkish politics illustrates a rather complicated post-election Turkey. It would not be wrong to argue that Turkey will suffer for a certain period of time because of its ungovernable and unpredictable state.