President Erdoğan to chair cabinet meeting on Feb. 22

President Erdoğan to chair cabinet meeting on Feb. 22

Erdinç Çelikkan - ANKARA
President Erdoğan to chair cabinet meeting on Feb. 22

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, right, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, left, arrive to attend funeral prayers for army officer Seçkin Çil, who was killed in Sur, Diyarbakır Wednesday, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. AP Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will chair a cabinet meeting on Feb. 22, in which a Feb. 17 suicide car bomb attack in Ankara that killed 28 people, recent developments surrounding the Syrian conflict and ongoing joint military-police operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will top the agenda.

The cabinet meeting at Erdoğan’s presidential palace was originally scheduled to be held in late February but due to the president’s upcoming tour of three African countries that will cover the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria from Feb. 28 to March 2, it was moved up. 

The Feb. 22 meeting will be the first cabinet meeting chaired by Erdoğan following the Nov. 1 parliamentary elections in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) secured a single-party government.

Since having been elected as president in August 2014, Erdoğan has chaired cabinet meetings for four times, the first one being held on Jan. 19, 2015. Most recently, he hosted the cabinet members at a dinner at the presidential palace on Dec. 14, 2015.

Erdoğan, who chairs the bimonthly meetings of the National Security Council (MGK), bringing together top civilian and military leaders in his capacity as head of the state, will from now on chair cabinet meetings once every two months.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that Erdoğan would be chairing cabinet meetings regularly from now on.

“We discussed and proposed to our President holding of Council of Ministers meetings at Beştepe [the presidential complex]. From now on, this meeting will be held at Beştepe once every two months. That’s to say, one month the MGK and the other month, the Council of Ministers. By this way, we will get use of our president’s experiences and his convictions about the incidents,” Davutoğlu told a group of reporters en route from an official visit to the Netherlands in the first half of February.

In the run-up to the presidential election in August 2014, which he won in the first round, Erdoğan repeatedly stated that the current constitution grants “executive power” to a president who comes to office via the popular vote, just as the 1982 constitution granted “executive power” to the 1980 coup leader Kenan Evren.

Since being elected to his current post, Erdoğan has chaired a number of cabinet meetings, arguing that this is a constitutional right granted to any head of the Turkish state.

Among the duties and powers relating to executive functions of the president, Article 104 of the constitution lists “presiding over the Council of Ministers or calling the Council of Ministers to meet under his or her chairmanship whenever he or she deems it necessary.”