On the day after

On the day after

There are several speculations about the day after the presidential elections. It is as if some of our friends travelled in time, saw Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan win the presidency with a comfortable majority in the first voting on Aug. 10 and appointed a prime minister and chairman to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Or, can anyone believe that anyone but has an idea of what will indeed happen on the day after?

Nowadays we are all living through an environmental cleanup operation conducted by Erdoğan. Even if we might not have a definite answer to who will become what in the aftermath of the presidential vote, it is pretty clear who will not be on the scene. For example, for a long time many people were of the opinion that President Abdullah Gül would become Erdoğan’s Medvedev and the two would flip posts.

Even though there were structural impediments to such a design, political pundits of Turkey were defending the idea that once Erdoğan was elected president a parliamentarian from a one-deputy province might resign and under the stipulation that, if and when, a province is left without a deputy in Parliament bi-elections are held there immediately, Gül would be elected to Parliament from that province, fulfill the requirement of being a parliamentarian and thus become the next prime minister.

Pundits were all saying such an operation might be completed in less than 45 days if wanted and in that period we might have an interim caretaker prime minister.

Who knows what may happen in the next general elections – tentatively scheduled for July 2015. It has become clear that if Gül has a chance of returning to party politics, he might try his chance in the 2015 polls, either as an AKP candidate or establish his new and much anticipated party and enter elections as its leader. In any case, Erdoğan appears to be ice-cold to the idea of a strong AKP leader and prime minister who might not be easily remote-controlled. Obviously, Gül is too young to retire.

Besides, he might be the new leader; even AKP supporters have been looking to get rid of an oppressive, demanding and autocratic Erdoğan.

Ankara’s political pundits are probably right and Erdoğan has already selected Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as his successor, both as party leader and prime minister. Under such a scenario, it might be easier for Erdoğan to continue playing the sole fiddle and remain as the sole decision maker and absolute executive of Turkey. The promotion to Prime Ministry and party leadership of a foreign minister who has so badly failed over the past few years in foreign policy might be indicative of the character of Erdoğan’s presidency: No abilities, but complete surrender pays off!

Of course, all of these are plans assuming Erdoğan will win the presidency. Polls indicate that it might indeed be an easy win for Erdoğan. It is claimed that he has around 53 percent of electoral support. I doubt that. At the polling booth, people will re-think, hopefully, and decide between Erdoğan and his antithesis Ekmelettin İhsanoğlu and prefer reason, calm, gentleness, democratic governance, stability and perfection to arrogance, autocracy and dictatorship. Turkish people have done that many times in the past. Was not that how late Turgut Özal and his Motherland Party came to power in 1983? Was it not that all polls at the time showing the military-supported party in the lead? It came only third… What about the lifting of political bans. Özal was against the lifting of the bans. The nation was against the former leaders’ return. Thus, the nation lifted the bans with a razor-thin majority declaring it was against the bans and did not want the return of the former leaders as well.

Can the nation do it again? Can it fool all the polls and declare its opposition to autocracy, separatism, sectarian obsessions, war mongering and power obsession? I believe it can.