Turkish PM says he won’t be a traditional president

Turkish PM says he won’t be a traditional president

Turkish PM says he won’t be a traditional president

AA Photo

Confident that he will win presidential elections in the first round, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared that he will not be a “traditional president,” hinting that his term will include the unprecedented implementation of powers given to the country’s head of state by the Constitution.

“The position of the Çankaya [the presidency] is very different in our republic. In the event of our election [as the president], there will be some implementations. When talking about these implementations, I already said, ‘I will use the powers given by the Constitution.’  I will not be a traditional president; a president that follows the precedent,” Erdoğan said in an interview with Kanal 7 late July 27. “I will fulfill presidential duties as they are described in the Constitution.”

According to the Turkish Constitution, the president is defined as the head of the executive and has the right to chair Cabinet meetings. The president also has the right to dissolve Parliament when necessary to pave the way for early elections. These rights were introduced into the Constitution by the military junta in 1982 and have not been used by presidents. Erdoğan earlier said he might not chair the Cabinet every week but could do it bi-monthly as he does with the National Security Council (MGK).

Erdoğan expressed his confidence that he would win the first-round polls outright on Aug. 10, as a number of public opinion polls have suggested he will obtain 54 to 58 percent of votes, with some findings signaling that opposition voters could also vote for him.

Criticizing some columnists and commentators who said he would be no different than previous presidents, the prime minister said: “Who told you this? Did I work like previous prime ministers? Turkey would never have reached the point it is at today if I had worked like previous prime ministers.”

Erdoğan also refuted claims that there would be problems during his presidency, saying: “You will all see what kind of a president I will be, if the people elect me. If we can’t surpass our predecessors, then there is no point in being elected for this job. We are not electing a mannequin for Çankaya. An elected government and a directly elected president will go hand in hand to work to allow Turkey to take off.”

PM slams some AKP officials

Erdoğan also noted his unhappiness and anger at statements from Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials who had expressed their views about the next prime minister and chairman of the party.
“From time to time, some of our friends are making statements. Actually, these statements sadden us. I do not want to make statements about these things,” he said, criticizing some journalists who were trying to give recommendations to the AKP leadership.

“First, [the statements of AKP officials] are ugly. There is no such thing. In our party, everybody expresses his own views, but not through the media. They tell us directly. Those who want to move honestly will air these views at a MYK [central-decision making body] meeting if they are members of the MYK,” Erdoğan said.

Being a party member means one has disciplinary procedures to follow, Erdoğan said, underlining that the most important thing was to further strengthen the AKP by grabbing more than 50 percent of votes in 2015 elections.

“The presidential elections are the signal flare for the 2015 elections. That’s why there’s no use talking about ‘Who will be party chairman?’ or ‘Who will be prime minister?’ on the eve of presidential elections. My friends [in the party] who are talking about these issues should test themselves. This is very wrong,” he said.

Three-term restriction

AKP officials have also complained about the three-term restriction for lawmakers as a number of senior AKP figures will not be able to run for Parliament in the next elections. Erdoğan did not rule out the possibility of appointing the prime minister from the group of lawmakers who will be affected by the three-term rule, but said the final decision would be taken following internal consultations. 

Erdoğan also said a change in this principle could only be brought to the agenda by the party’s new chairman, something that would necessitate a general convention.