The AKP and the BDP
Will Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan be able to pass the presidential system in Parliament with support from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)?
The cooperation of those two parties is not a thing to publicize in front of cameras. For example, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) may submit a constitutional draft to Parliament, one that the BDP would support; and in a secret vote, “brave” deputies from the BDP would cast affirmative votes, the figure 330 would be reached…
Whenever the prime minister mentions that they can submit their own Constitution draft to Parliament, it is always the BDP that comes to mind in order to exceed the figure 330. On the other hand, the BDP says that they may favor a constitutional draft submitted by the AK Party that includes “regional parliaments.”
Is it possible to write a new Constitution, to introduce the presidential system with such AK Party and BDP cooperation?
No, it is not possible; well, let’s say it is a possibility of one in 1,000.
According to a Metro Poll survey, the ratio of voters who approve of AK Party and BDP cooperation for the writing of a new Constitution is only 28 percent. Even 51 percent of those who voted for the AK Party are against this.
It would also not be credible for the public when an implicit cooperation would be explained by “brave votes.”
The prime minister indeed knows of this tendency in the public. He had already said at one stage that they would not make a bilateral consensus with the BDP.
AK Party, BDP and wise people
Ahmet Taşgetiren is a serious, analytical conservative. He is a writer in daily Bugün and is heading the Central Anatolia group of wise people. He wrote it in his column, and he also explained it in daily Cumhuriyet: “The public is concerned that some things would be given in exchange for the presidential system. The fact that the presidential system is on the agenda during the resolution process causes trouble.” For the success of the process, the presidential system proposal should be withdrawn.
I have also written it. The prime minister should totally withdraw the presidential system issue while we are going through a “resolution process.” Since he wants to rule Turkey until 2023, instead of forcing a system change, he should rather make a change in his party’s statutes, which is fairly easy to do, and continue on his path as prime minister. (Hürriyet, May 4)
Also, most of the wise people who support the process are against the presidential system.
The presidential system and local powers in the solution to the Kurdish issue can be debated separately, but including these two separate issues in the same constitutional draft, in a way creating the impression of a “give and take,” would degenerate both issues.
Besides, according to Metro Poll, those who say “yes” to the presidential system in the public corresponds to only 35 percent; even 26 percent of those who voted for the AK Party are against the presidential system.
What is the point in forcing this?
It is good news that work has accelerated at the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission. However, whatever the result is, while a solution is sought for Turkey’s most important problem in 90 years, the Kurdish issue, the presidential system debate, which is a separate means of polarization and a matter of dispute, should be kept far away from this business. This is Erdoğan’s historic responsibility.
The prime minister called those deputies who would cast affirmative votes to the AK Party’s constitutional draft “brave.” Such “brave” deputies could also come from the ruling party.
AK Party Ankara deputy Haluk Özdalga published an excellent article two days ago (Zaman, May 20) explaining how the presidential system would never adjust to our “body.”
Are there no AK Party deputies who keep quiet now because of the “party member mentality” but would vote negatively on the presidential system in a secret vote? The prime minister also says this could happen.
Why insist on a presidential system that does not have adequate support in society and in Parliament?
Taha Akyol is a columnist for daily Hürriyet, in which this piece was published on May 22. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.