A discreet grand deal

A discreet grand deal

Was it a shock? Or, is there anything absurd in the two top politicians of the country making a “long-term plan” which will accommodate the expectations of both, for one immediately, for the other in less than a year?

The political cauldron in Ankara is over the fire again. The boiling cauldron is full of political gossip, hearsay, claims and counter claims. Often one claim contrasts or at least contradicts another. Sometimes what’s said on one issue might be totally irrelevant according to what’s being said on another development within the same scope.

It is almost certain that Ahmet Davutoğlu is becoming the next premier. It is fervently argued that it is almost certain that Erdoğan’s top aides Yalçın Akdoğan and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) boss Hakan Fidan will be in the next Cabinet, one as the deputy prime minister and the other as the foreign minister. No need to play “ministers lotto” now as all the claims are either some “intelligent guesses” or “informed wishes.” Would it make much difference if Bekir Bozdağ remained as justice minister or was promoted to the deputy premiership or whether Numan Kurtulmuş entered Cabinet while the veteran economy minister of all Erdoğan Cabinets, Ali Babacan, is left out? Yes, it matters but as there is only one and absolute decision-maker in this country, what might be said with full confidence might not be necessarily be correct a while later.

Could it be possible that the president-elect and the outgoing president indeed agreed that President Abdullah Gül will wait on the sidelines of politics for some time while Davutoğlu becomes the premier and prepares the country for the 2015 elections? Is it reasonable to believe that at some stage in 2015 the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will issue a “we missed you, come back” message to Gül, go to a convention, elect Gül as its new leader and go to the 2015 elections (in July) under Gül’s leadership?

Well, nothing is impossible in politics, but such a plan does not appear to be a sane one. First of all, who can guarantee that Davutoğlu will agree to be an interim president to stay as party leader and premier until Gül takes over? Would he not fight for that precious seat? Will Erdoğan want the return of a strong premier and AKP leader like Gül? If Erdoğan wants the AKP enter 2015 polls with the intention of getting a sufficient majority (minimum 330 seats) to amend the Constitution and bring a presidential system to Turkey, why would Erdoğan accept a secondary role and cooperate?

Worse, the elections are scheduled for July, but the AKP convention will be held in September. Even worse, Erdoğan and the party executive board decided only last week that the premier and the party would be the same person and whoever that person be, he will take the party to the 2015 polls.

Thus, the claim in Ankara’s boiling political cauldron that Erdoğan and Gül made a secret landmark deal and that Gül will return to the AKP leadership and prime ministry in 2015 to carry the AKP to an electoral victory to help Erdoğan establish presidential rule in Turkey appears to be a wishful fabrication of some cheeky journalists. If such a deal is true, some other “intelligent information” based on claims that all the remaining confidants of Gül in the Cabinet – such as Babacan – will be dropped in the new Cabinet must be wrong… Similarly, the bold statement of Deputy Premier Bülent Arınç that Turkey will be carried to presidential rule by the new AKP-led Parliament in 2015 might only be a joke.

If Gül wants to return to active party politics he has no other option but to fight it through… Such a development, on the other hand, may help Turkey rescue its “peculiar” democracy.