The Turkish prime minister’s plans
By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
Despite his authoritarian behavior, the financial scandals involving his environment, the bans on Twitter and YouTube, Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged victorious from the public elections and got 45% of votes.
Now he feels omnipotent, that is why on one hand he has already given the order to combat Fethullah Gulen’s Islamic order of Hizmet, while on the other hand he is planning his next political steps. However, political analysts express fears that Turkey is pulling away from Europe and is increasingly becoming a country that will be ruled like the countries of the Middle East.
The main plan in Erdogan’s mind is to become President of the Turkish Republic with increased powers. Next August in Turkey elections will take place and the Turks with their vote will choose the president who will lead the country for the next seven years.
The main scenario of the Turkish Prime Minister’s moves predicts that he will run as a candidate for the presidency, with President Gul assuming the role of the prime minister. “In this scenario, Erdogan will convene a congress to deliver the party to someone he trusts, until Gul is elected MP. Perhaps he will call for early elections in Autumn”, says the political analyst of the newspaper Radikal, Murat Yetkin .
The other scenario is the continuation of Gul’s presidency, with Erdogan remaining prime minister. But for this to happen a Party congress must be convened and change the internal procedural rule, which predicts a maximum limit of three terms to any MP, minister or prime minister who is a member of the AKP. “Erdogan may convene a Congress in June in order to change the rules and remain prime minister, while the parliamentary elections can be held normally in June 2015”, says Gietkin.
However, what the Turkish prime minister would like is the increased powers for the president .
One cannot exclude the possibility of a referendum together with the presidential elections for new Constitutional reforms that will give the president new powers. To get the support the Kurdish population, since he has to be elected with the 51 % of votes, perhaps he will include in these reforms the autonomy of the municipalities of southeastern Turkey in order to have the support and the votes of Kurds.
The last scenario predicts early elections for August to be held together with the presidential elections. Erdogan then will become president without having new powers.
“Erdogan needs three million extra votes”. On March 30, the AKP received 19,455,000 votes. In order to be elected president in the first round of the elections he must receive about 22.3 million votes. This means that he must find a way to fill this gap. If he approached the Kurds will have a problem with his conservative-rightist voters and this move may prove risky”, says the columnist, Sedat Ergin, of the newspaper Hürriyet.
Abdullah Gul has already raised the issue and with his statements to the press he said that by the end of May everything will be made clear. He wants to remain president for another term, something he has stated many times over. He, however, appears conciliatory stressing that “neither the prime minister nor I will not do anything without discussing it and we will not learn each other’s decisions from others”.
The truth however is that Turkey, until August, will live in this political uncertainty and nobody knows what Gulen’s order’s moves throughout this period will be. The Turkish prime minister claims that this order is behind the illegal wiretapping revelations . One cannot exclude that there might be new revelations concerning Erdogan’s environment. However, the big loser of the municipal elections in Turkey is considered to be Fethullah Gulen, since with all the leaks, the accusations against Erdogan and the ‘informal ‘ alliance with the CHP, the AKP’s rates did not drop.
In addition, one cannot exclude the Turkish prime minister appearing more consensual during this period, in order to win the consensus needed to reach his final objective. Access to twitter is once again allowed in Turkey, which might prove to be the first step along that path.