Transformation underway

Transformation underway

A very important week is starting for Turkey. The unprecedented era of two prime ministers and two presidents will come to an end with one of the presidents packing up and moving to Istanbul to become a well-paid pensioner, while the other will relinquish his helm on the prime ministry and move on to become the country’s newly elected 12th president. The elected president will not vacate the prime ministry seat due to a fear that his stepping down will have unsavory consequences. Thus he has immunity and will assume the presidency on Aug. 28.

This interregnum period is of course a product of the first-ever public election of the president. Plus, he was elected back on Aug. 10. Yet, the official announcement of the election result will be published by the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on the morning of Aug. 27. Why? Rather simple. Under the current constitution the prime ministry – and thus the accompanying immunity of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – would automatically terminate the moment he was announced as president. If that was done, not only would he not be able to chair the very important succession meetings at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters, he would also be without immunity until he was officially sworn in as president. Who could imagine what kind of nasty developments might have taken place in the country in the last 18 days (as the first unofficial result was announced on the election night) especially as for the past decade very important judicial cases have been shelved because of Erdoğan’s political immunity? Furthermore, was it impossible all together for the “remaining parallel state” to get a “capture order” from its “parallel justice system” and place the elected president behind bars because of his role, let’s assume in the alleged corruption much talked about before the March mayoral polls?
Now, on Wednesday, the AKP extraordinary convention will meet to elect Erdoğan’s successor as party leader. The successor was announced last week by Erdoğan himself: Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Right, it appears as if this country is one of those puppet states of the Cold War, dictated by an “absolute power” on what to do. In a way, the absolute power was developed from within. While AKP delegates will “elect” through their “free votes” the new leader of the party, at the presidency final preparations will be underway to welcome the new tenant couple who are expected to stay at least until 2024, if the constitution in the meantime is not amended to lift the current maximum two five-year term clause. A day after, the AKP will “freely elect” Davutoğlu as its “new chairman,” the absolute ruler will be sworn in as the president of the republic at a parliamentary ceremony to which – as if there will be a coronation ceremony – foreign heads of state or government will be invited.

Already a lottery is underway in Ankara’s corridors of politics: Who will assume their new ministerial posts as the master – pardon the president elect – despite it being already announced that this will not be an interim government but one that will carry Turkey to the general elections next year.

Although the seats they will occupy differed a lot in among political gossipers it is generally believed the new government will be established by Erdoğan: Efkan Ala, Hakan Fidan and Yalçın Akdoğan. In the new government Ala is anticipated to continue on as interior minister while Akdoğan is expected to succeed Beşir Atalay as deputy prime minister in charge of the Kurdish initiative (also known as the Kurdish opening), as well as the thorny Cyprus issue. Hakan Fidan, on the other hand, will move in from the powerful National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to become Davutoğlu’s successor as foreign minister.

If not a new Turkey a new Cabinet is shaping up hopefully to take the country into a new era: Will that era be a democratic one anchored with the club of democracies or will it be the new Turkey of a little yet taller Putin? Only time will tell.