Turkey’s 842,000 seconds lost

Turkey’s 842,000 seconds lost

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the evening of the day when he assigned Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to form the new government, addressed Turkey’s political parties, telling them “not to try the nation’s patience.” 

Then on July 17, the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Davutoğlu warned the other parties: “Whatever you have in your bags, deliver it all. This country does not have even one second to lose.” 

In fact it was Erdoğan who waited until the last second to give the mandate to Davutoğlu, despite the fact he could have done so much earlier. 

According to the vibes they sending out, you would think that Davutoğlu has organized everything, has formed teams, and has made detailed preparations for each party.

But the AKP had no need to take a position or make a more detailed study. It was able to start negotiations immediately and catch the “unprepared sides” off guard. 

On the other hand, let alone “one second lost,” it has been exactly 864,000 seconds since Davutoğlu was given the mandate. He has so far spent only 18,000 seconds of this total in talks with the three other parties. 

During the “lost” 842,000 seconds, he spent 259,000 seconds on a trip to Bosnia, 259,000 seconds on his Eid al-Fitr vacation, and 324,000 seconds on various minor affairs.

Leave aside the claim that the AKP is a master of doing everything itself but blaming others. What is the reason for wasting these seconds? 

As if Davutoğlu has all the time in the world

Culture Minister Ömer Çelik and Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesman Haluk Koç undertook the duty for contacts between the AKP and the CHP. But they have not even conducted one meeting. 

One may say that the AKP is very busy, but everyone knows that Çelik does not much like “ministerial affairs.” It could be said that his hours at the ministry are “limited.”

Either way, a number of things need to happen in order for two parties on opposite sides of the spectrum to agree to form a “strong government.” 

Firstly, plenty of time should be allocated for talks so that every matter can discussed and agreed upon and a long-term government can be formed. 

This might be the right time to recall that the current slowness gives the impression that Davutoğlu will be the only leader in Turkey’s history to use all “45 days” of the constitutional deadline to form a government.

The president should rather have given the mandate to Davutoğlu for a “reasonable time.” According to common practice, this would be around 15 days. 

The palace’s election insistence

The CHP has plenty of deep issues to consider in these negotiations. For instance, foreign policy has to change 100 percent. How will the architect of this policy, Davutoğlu, consent to that? What’s more, with the education system so far out of joint, why would the CHP enter a government without a healthy transformation in this field? 

The CHP cannot just stand back and watch as state institutions - from the judiciary to the military, from to the police to the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), from the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) to the universities, from the tax department to the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), are turned by the AKP into party organs. 

Actually, here is some good news for the CHP: As the “pro-palace” media has been crying for days that no coalition should be formed with this CHP, an exit is possible. When the “palace” increases the volume of its insistence on an early election, this is a sign that the AKP is on the right track. 

We may see some surprising traffic this week and the tip-off that Davutoğlu wants a coalition government to be formed may come. 

If not, then the final act of the current theater play is a fresh election.