Turkish-style presidential system needed, Erdoğan repeats
AA PhotoUnlike what many argue, establishing an authentic Turkish-style presidential system is both possible and necessary, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed, underlining that presidential systems in different countries around the world vary in form.
“It is being said: ‘A Turkish-type presidential system is not possible.’ I am saying it loud and clear: It is possible, pure and simple. Why wouldn’t it be?” Erdoğan said on Feb. 27, delivering a speech to governors from all 81 provinces of the country at the presidential palace in Ankara.
“In America, there is a different presidential system; when you go just to its south, in Mexico, there is a different presidential system. When you go to Cuba, it is different; Argentina is different; Brazil is different; Russia is different; France has a semi-presidential system,” he added.
Erdoğan is Turkey’s first directly-elected president and has repeatedly vowed to wield more power than his predecessors, prompting critics to accuse him of unconstitutionally centralizing power in what they say is a de facto presidential system.
Earlier this week, he said he would host his second cabinet meeting as head of state on March 9, a further sign of his determination to keep a firm grip on power.
Previous heads of state have only chaired cabinet meetings in times of crises.
Erdoğan hopes a comprehensive victory for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which he led for longer than a decade, in the June general election, will open the way to constitutional reforms that could formally usher in a presidential system.
Speaking to the governors in Ankara, he used a metaphorical explanation in which he likened himself and his comrades to bees. “With the skillfulness of a bee, let’s gather our share from flowers and then turn it to honey,” he said, suggesting that they would eventually form an “authentic presidential system framed by Turkish customs and traditions.”
Last week, Erdoğan’s predecessor, the 11th President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, struck a note of caution on the much-discussed presidential system that Erdoğan wants Turkey to adopt, underlining the need to preserve the system of checks and balances, “like in the United States.”
“What kind of presidential system [are we talking about]? This is very important. It should not be a Turkish-style presidential system,” Gül said, apparently challenging Erdoğan’s recent statements that the government would build a system unique to Turkey.
Erdoğan’s Feb. 27 emphasis on a “Turkish-style” system was widely considered to have been a response to Gül’s remarks.