Turkey will officially pass from the parliamentary form of government to the presidential one. Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive such powers as none of the political leaders of Turkey had before him.
President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be sworn in at a ceremony in parliament. Thus, Turkey will officially pass from the parliamentary form of government to the presidential one. 13 years have passed since the Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose founder and leader is Erdogan, began with the support of the population negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
Then it seemed that the country is actively developing democracy and freedom of speech. But now Turkey is going to give its increasingly authoritarian, Islamist and nationalist president unprecedented full power.
After the parliament has lost control over the executive, Erdogan will have the sole right to dispose of it. And thanks to his authority to appoint judges, he will be able to control the justice system as well.
Do not compare with France and the US.
Ersin Kalaysoğlu from the Policy Center of Sabancı University in Turkey indicates that it is not yet clear how the system of government will change. “Until now, there are only discussions about how the system will look in general terms, while neither the public nor political scientists know the exact details,” Kalaysoğlu said.
Erdogan now and then emphasizes that the presidential form of government exists in other major democratic countries. However, the new political system of Turkey differs significantly from the existing in the US or the so-called semi-presidential republic, which is in France.
So, the US president has no right to dissolve the Congress. Erdogan, on the contrary, can disband the parliament and appoint new elections. In France, the parliament appoints members of the Constitutional Court. In the new Turkey, the president will do it.
Ersin Kalaysoğlu points out the autocratic signs of the presidential system of governance in Turkey: “There is an established civil society in both the American and French systems, we do not have it.” In addition, Erdogan will be able to regularly issue presidential decrees in the future, equivalent to the laws – bypassing the parliament. Until now, he could do this only under conditions of a state of emergency, which, incidentally, is still in effect.
At the same time, Erdogan will be able to disqualify judges at any time. Thus, it is unlikely to be a presidential system with an independent and impartial justice, experts say. Political scientist Dogu Ergil shares the concerns of his colleague Kalaisoglu. So important for democracy, the separation of branches of power and an independent court have virtually been abolished, Ergil said.
Threat of ultranationalism
The question remains whether the “People’s Alliance”, which Erdogan’s party formed with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), will contribute to the decline of tension in the country. Many fear that the tough position of the MHP on the Kurdish issue and its denial of certain democratic values may create an even more nationalistic atmosphere in Turkey.
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Erdogan needs the MHP for the majority in parliament. This situation can create a grave obstacle for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish problem, and hence for compliance with EU rules. The most important question is how Turkey’s relations with the West will develop.
In 1999, Turkey became an official candidate for EU membership. On October 3, 2005, negotiations began on Turkey’s membership in the European Union. However, over the past 13 years, no major progress has been made on this issue. After the state of emergency, two years ago, the talks were actually stopped. Speaker of the European Parliament for Turkey, Kati Piri, spoke in favor of an official cessation of negotiations on the country’s accession to the EU.
While Turkey’s relations with the European Union are threatened with total freezing, the relationship between Ankara and Washington is also experiencing one of the hardest periods in history. They are complicated by several controversial issues for both countries. Thus, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan accuses of organizing a coup in 2015, lives in the United States. Washington cooperates in Syria with Kurdish “People’s Self-Defense Forces” (YPG), which in Turkey is considered a terrorist organization. Also, Turkey intends, despite protests of NATO, to buy Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400. All this led American-Turkish relations to a dead end. The politologist Dogu Ergil points out in connection with this a recent poll in Turkey: the population of this country is worse than the Iranian country. In Turkish society, anti-American and anti-European sentiments are increasingly spreading – even regardless of Erdogan’s policies.