“Which presidential system are you speaking of? Do we live in Uruguay? If this system does not collapse it will create many problems stated Ilber Ortayli a few weeks ago on a TV show for CNN Türk. Ortayli is considered to be one of the “wisest” Turks and every one of his speeches creates a stir.
A History professor at the universities of Ankara, Chicago, Galatasaray and Bilkent he was director at the Topkapi museum for several years and is an honorary member of the Turkish History Foundation. The AKP government were largely responsible for his public ascension. His concerns about the referendum on constitutional reforms promoted by Recep Tayip Erdogan, have caused many concerns. “Which referendum are we talking about? In 1982 92 % of the Turkish people voted for the Constitution that brought the military junta! Which was the worst in our history. After many years have passed they began to regret that choice. They said “yes” back then and they will say “yes” now. The Turkish people are ignorant as far as the issue of the Constitution is concerned. They don’t know what they are doing, what they want, what they approve and what they reject. Usually people just say “lets approve it and get it over and done with”.”
The Sunday which will change Turkey
On April 16, 56 million Turkish voters will go to the polls to make an important decision on the country’s governance. In case they say “no”, the governance system remains a parliamentary democracy. If the yes vote prevails then they will adopt Erdogan’s reforms which will expand his power weaken the power of the Parliament. Many people wonder how the current Prime Minister Binali Yildirim can call for a “yes” vote in his speeches since he would lose his office if the “yes” vote prevails.
Erdogan who has been in power for 15 years says that reform is needed so that the country does not return to the fragile coalition governments of the past. The opposition accuses him that the whole reform is tailored to his goals do that he can extend his presidency until 2032!
Erdogan’s executive powers
With the reform promoted by Erdogan, executive power is entrusted to the President, who will retain his status as leader or member of the party.
Meanwhile, the office of the Prime Minister is scrapped. The President, Erdogan that is, can appoint and dismiss the vice presidents and ministers! Erdogan will be responsible to issue decrees on issues of executive power, without the Parliament’s agreement. He will also reassemble at his discretion, all ministries and public services. The President shall determine by decree the appointment criteria for senior civil servants, and will appoint 6 of the 12 members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The Members of the supreme courts will appoint a further four, while the remaining four will be appointed by the Parliament. This means that the judiciary will be directly controlled by the President.
The President’s actions will not controlled by Parliament. The only possibility that any action is placed to the Parliament is by a process of the President’s referral to the Supreme Special Court. For the referral three-fifths of the total number of MPs are required to agree.
The President can dissolve Parliament at any time. He can remain in power for up to two consecutive terms. However, it isstated that if during his second term he calls for an election he may be re-elected for the third time. So theoretically Erdogan can remain in power even after 2029!
The Polls and Turkish Realty
Latest polls published last week showed that all will be judged in the last minute although the “yes” vote seems to be slightly ahead.According to the Gezici polling company “yes” votes are ahead with 53.3% whilst “no” are at 46.7%. Two weeks ago Reuters foresaw the adoption of the reforms at 52% . Sonar polling company predicts that Erdogan will lose the referendum with 51% voting “no”. However, everyone recognises that the polls can hardly predict the result because many voters are afraid to indicate their choice. The future of Turkey is in the hands of the undecided as their share reaches 15%. However history has shown that a large part of the Turkish people chooses what every powerful man in Turkey asks for in the last minute. If the Turks overturn this tradition remains to be seen on the night of April 16./IBNA