Today’s Zaman reports: The president’s insistence on a presidential system, demonstrated by his recent remarks that the issue should be a topic during the upcoming election campaign, may be considered a reflection of his lust for power as well as an attempt to prepare the groundwork for a shift to that system should the ruling party be victorious in the June elections.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in the past week that he wants a strong presidential system to replace the current parliamentary system of government, saying the shift should be a topic during the upcoming election campaign.
Claiming, in sharp contrast to reality, that most developed countries are governed by a presidential system, he told a group of journalists on his way back to Turkey from Africa: “That shows that this [system] produces [better] results. Given this, why should we put shackles on our feet [by sticking to a parliamentary regime]?”
But according to Mahmut Akpınar, a security analyst at the Ankara-based Center of Law, Ethics and Political Studies (HESA), Erdoğan’s real motive might be different.
“His [the president’s] lust for power as well as his desire to keep the ruling party under control at all times has a role in Erdoğan’s effort,” Akpınar told Sunday’s Zaman.
If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) manages to get enough votes in the elections on June 7 to change the Constitution in favor of a presidential system, Erdoğan will have all the power in his hand, whereas now he mostly enjoys symbolic powers.
According to Akpınar, Erdoğan aims, by bringing the issue up for discussion ahead of the elections, to psychologically prepare society for a shift to a presidential system from a parliamentary democracy, hoping that the ruling party will win the elections.
“By repeatedly bringing the issue up for discussion, he wants to create the impression among the public that voters will have also voted on this issue. If the AKP [AK Party] gets enough votes [to obtain power], the voters will be considered to have in this way given their approval [for a presidential system],” he said. [Continue reading…]