People have refused presidential system, demand coalition gov’t: Turkish PM

People have refused presidential system, demand coalition gov’t: Turkish PM

People have refused presidential system, demand coalition gov’t: Turkish PM

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In his first comprehensive statement after the June 7 general election, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stressed that the Turkish people have closed the door on the presidential system and called for parties to form a coalition government. He added that he has no red lines on such a partnership and will hold “genuine talks” with other parties to this end. 

Davutoğlu was speaking to state broadcaster TRT late on June 10, just hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a surprise meeting with the former leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal. The surprise meeting led to speculation that the president was involved in plans to form a coalition between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the CHP, the top two parties in the election. 

“This meeting was not a talk about forming a coalition. Our president is not part of coalition talks, he is not the one who will carry out these talks. It is wrong to consider him part of these talks. That would be against the nature [of politics]. The presidency is an institution to help overcome impasses,” Davutoğlu said. 
He also said he was not ruling out any coalition government option because as “the winner of the elections and the backbone of Turkey,” the AKP would not allow the country to fall into chaos. 

“The fate of the country is in our hands. It is only us who will head a coalition government. If the others are thinking of closing all the doors, then we’ll think about all other options. If the other parties are in cooperation, we will also think about that, without ruling out any possibilities. But if they are planning to do something on their own, we are also open to that. What is important is staying within legitimate boundaries,” he said.

“These talks should not be for show. I will conduct my talks with each opposition party in a principled way. I am ready to hold all kinds of negotiations in a very open-hearted way.  I have never used the words, ‘red lines.’ Because politics does not cross over lines but rather runs to a destination. We are ready to form a coalition,” Davutoğlu added. 

Early polls ‘disrespectful’

Holding early elections on account that the June 7 polls did not produce a result would be “disrespectful to the people’s will,” Davutoğlu said, while also stating that this would be an option if all other parties closed their doors to the formation of a government. 

One of the results of the elections is the people’s opposition to the presidential system, the prime minister added. “We wanted to adopt the presidential system but it was not approved by the people. There is a new picture now and everybody must continue to govern within existing [parliamentarian] system,” he said.

Indirect message to president 

He also said the presidential position should not be turned into a subject of discussion. He called on opposition leaders to “ignore the president” as “launching debates about [the presidency] would only increase uncertainty.” 

However, Davutoğlu also issued an indirect message to the president. “The position our president occupies has a trouble-shooter nature. It’s the president who will give the mandate ... As the system has not changed, everything should fall into place. A culture of compromise could be brought about if everybody fulfills their own duties within the frame of their powers and responsibilities,” he said.

Coalition 'not suitable'

Davutoğlu said history had shown that coalition governments were not suitable for Turkey but that his ruling AK Party was open to all options. 

"We've used the coalition eras of the 1970s and 1990s as an example to show that coalitions are not suitable for Turkey and we still stand by that stance," Davutoğlu told.

"However, with the current political picture, the only party that can come up with realistic solutions is the AKP ... We're open to any scenarios in Turkey based on the latest developments."

Renewal for 'New Turkey'

Amid exploratory talks over how to formulate Turkey’s next coalition government, Davutoğlu has vowed to pursue his objective of forming a “new Turkey” by renewing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

“One point we should all be aware of is building the new Turkey by renewing the AK Party, taking into account our shortcomings and mistakes made over our 12-13 years of experience [in government]. This is our objective,” he said.

There can be no political equation in which the AKP will not take a place, Davutoğlu added, saying the contrary would only bring about a picture that would risk the disintegration of Turkey on ethnic and sectarian bases. 

“Those [newspapers] whose headlines read ‘The AK Party era is over’ should perfectly know that Turkish politics without the AK Party is impossible. The AK Party will continue to rule and to guide Turkish politics today, tomorrow, in the short and long term,” he said.  

Davutoğlu described the AKP as “the guarantee of Turkey’s stability, comfort and peace,” which will “take every necessary step without ruling out any option.”