Turkish cabinet to gather under President Erdoğan at Beştepe for sixth time
ANKARAWith rising security concerns due to attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as the ongoing conflict between Turkey’s security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will chair a cabinet meeting on May 2, the sixth one he has called since coming to power.
Since being elected to his current post, Erdoğan has argued this is a constitutional right granted to any head of the Turkish state, despite the fact it is usually the prime minister who holds such meetings.
The southeastern province of Kilis will be high on the agenda, since it has recently been hit multiple times by deadly rocket attacks carried out by ISIL over the last months, prompting anxiety and anger on the part of local residents. Reports said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has planned to present and discuss additional measures for Kilis during the May 2 meeting.
Erdoğan and the cabinet will also discuss progress surrounding a March 18 deal between Ankara and the European Union to stop the influx of refugees into Europe as well as urban transformation plans for the rebuilding of certain districts in the southeast including Diyarbakır province’s Sur district, which was the scene of months-long clashes between security forces and the PKK militants.
The EU executive branch, the European Commission, will present its third visa-liberalization progress report on May 4, and, if Turkey fulfills all 72 criteria to bring the country into compliance with EU and international law, a legislative proposal will be put forward to transfer the country to the visa-free list.
Since being elected as president in August 2014, Erdoğan has chaired cabinet meetings five times, the first one being held on Jan. 19, 2015. Most recently, he hosted the cabinet members at the Beştepe presidential complex on Feb. 22.
Days before the Feb. 22 meeting, Davutoğlu announced that Erdoğan would be chairing cabinet meetings regularly from now on.
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, has since been chairing cabinet meetings once every two months.
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 1980 coup leader Kenan Evren.
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.”