The Author

Zeynep Mentesoglu

Zeynep Mentesoglu holds a Bachelor Degree in International Relations at Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She is currently running a double-master programme at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona. Her main focus is on integration of immigrants, territorial management strategies and regional integration policies of European Union with a particular focus on South Mediterranean including Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the oath of office on July 9, which officially closed a page in Turkey’s history and started the new government system. Erdogan had won out the 24 June elections by taking 52 percent of the votes and has been elected as the president. His oath in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey officially ended the parliamentary system which lasted since 1920 and made Turkey to switch to an executive presidency.

During Erdogan’s oath in the National Assembly, it is observed besides A.K.P(Justice and Development Party), M.H.P (Nationalist Movement Party) is appeared as the second pillar of support for Erdogan and new born executive presidency. People’s Alliance established between A.K.P and M.H.P as an electoral alliance for 24 June elections thus signalled it will last during the executive presidency under Erdogan.

Following the oath in the Grand National Assembly and visit of Atatürk’s mausoleum, the official ceremony took place at the presidential complex. Erdogan stressed in his speech during the official ceremony, now he is the elected president and “this time with all the power of the executive branch.” As Erdogan states he holds all executive powers in the new system called as “presidential government”. In other words, Erdogan under the new system will continue his ties with A.K.P (Justice and Development Party) as the party leader.

Presidential government system authorizes President Erdogan to make crucial decisions besides holding a total executive power such appointing state officials, appointing high judges to the Constitutional Court and declaring state of emergency.

Therefore, it can be expected the lines between execute and legislative bodies and separation of powers under executive presidency to be further blurred although Erdogan vows new system will strengthen the separation of powers.

“We are now adopting a model that is way beyond our 150-year-old pursuit of democracy and our 95-year-long experience of a republic,” Erdogan said, vowing to “leave behind a system that cost the country heavily because of the political, social and economic chaos it caused in the past.” stated President Erdogan promising the new system will enable a stronger and advanced Turkey.

Erdogan when A.K.P first came to power in 2002 had hold a contrary approach towards presidential system. It was regarded as unsuitable to the political culture of Turkey as well as an undemocratic system. However, domestic turbulence Turkey experienced throughout the time might seem to change Erdogan’s mind and caused parliamentary system to be perceived as an obstacle for the further development of Turkey.

President Erdogan determined the new cabinet. The announcement of new cabinet by President Erdogan has been regarded as a hotly anticipated moment. Perhaps Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak are appeared as the one of the most prominent names appointed as new ministers of the cabinet. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar has been appointed as the new Defence Minister whereas Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak as the Treasury and Finance Minister.

Appointment of Chief General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar is a first after 58 years that a military origin has been appointed as the Defence Minister. Since 1960, 32 ministers appointed as a defence minister had been of civilian.

Erdogan seems to choose the members of cabinets among the names he has personal intimacy and trust. Moreover, only four ministers are appeared to have politician backgrounds as majority of the cabinet are appointed among bureaucrats.

It is noteworthy that no name from M.H.P(Nationalist Movement Party) could find a place for themselves in the new cabinet despite their support for the introduction of the new government system and electoral alliance in 24 June elections.

50 high level foreign leaders including 22 presidents attended President Erdogan’s inauguration. Majority of European leaders did not participate to the ceremony meanwhile Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and Hungary’s Viktor Orban were there. Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro after attending Erdogan’s ceremony named Erdogan “as a friend of Venezuela and leader of the new multi-polar world.” It is noteworthy that these leaders are regarded to have authoritarian tendencies by their own people.

Second time appointed Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated with the new system the distinction between foreign and domestic politics will be abolished. Regarding the relations with the EU Cavusoglu stated “By uniting our forces, we are planning to make progress in the EU process despite all difficulties”. Considering Cavusoglu was the current Foreign Minister under parliamentary system and appointed to the cabinet under the new system it is an issue of concern whether Turkey-EU relations can be re-shaped towards a better integration path.

The reaction of the market to the new system was unexpected from the perspective of government. After the announcement of the new cabinet exchange rate of dollar has been increased to 4.75 as euro rate reached to 5,57 meaning a reduction in Turkish Lira’s value. Although the first reaction was negative for the Turkish Lira, the following days will show whether the new cabinet of Erdogan is market friendly or not.

In the light of all critics and praises of the new “presidential government” it is true a page in Republic of Turkey is closed and a new era is started. Erdogan as the elected president is capable of using all the executive power besides many special authorities. Erdogan states “New era will be marked by reforms and renovation”. Under the new presidential system, it is time that will show whether the vows for a stronger Turkey and an unalienated Turkish nation will be fulfilled or not.

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