Turkish president's choice

By Emil Ismayilov

On March 30 2014 Turkey will hold location elections. Their results are important for Erdogan on the eve of the first general Presidential elections, planned in August.

 

These shall be the first nationwide elections of the President of Turkey. Earlier the President of Turkey has been election by the Parliament. The Press-Secretary of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul reported that Mr. Gul can nominate himself within the elections of the Head of the state in 2014. Let’s remind that earlier, the country’s Parliament has changed the law for Gul, by extending the Presidential term from five to seven years, granting the right to stand for the second term.

 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) perceived this statement skeptically, indicating that the AKP candidate for the Post of the President shall be the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The experts think that Turkey may follow the scenario of Russia – the President shall take the post of the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister shall become the President.

 

Some experts reckon that Erdogan intends to turn Turkey into the Presidential Republic with Constitution amendment and shall become the first President, elected by people directly.

 

The President Gul was elected in 2007 for seven-year term, which is not subjected to prolongation. After the election of Gul for the post of the President, the Constitution of Turkey was amended, in accordance with this amendment the President should be elected by the people, instead of the Parliament, and the President elected by the people is able to govern during five years, by this there is an option to be elected for the second term.

 

Erdogan was three times elected to represent his party in the Parliament. That is why probably in 2014 he shall stand for the President, as in accordance with the charter of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), he can’t be elected for the Parliament anymore. In course of the interview, the respondents were asked about the person to become the next Leader of the Justice and Development Party, in case Erdogan is elected for the President in 2014. 36.5 percent answered that the AKP Leader should be Gul

 

Naturally, the corruption scandal about extradition to an Azerbaijani reporter has strongly affected the international image of Turkey. It’s hard to say the way the events in the Taksim Square, the series of corruption scandals and the tightening of state control over Internet-resources shall influence the outcomes of the elections. This law has not yet been signed by Abdullah Gul.

 

The biggest Turkish newspaper Zaman, with 1.25 copies release, as well as the TV company Samano­yolu and the agency Cinan, which earlier has been the AKP allies, now are against tightening of domestic policy by the Prime Minister Erdogan.

 

Until recently economic policy has constituted the unconditional success of Erdogan. Rapid growth of GDP, high rates of construction, tourist business infrastructure development, seemed to the formula of promotion in future. But already the last year demonstrated that Turkish economy was at the edge of stagnation. Together with dissatisfaction with domestic policy of Erdogan, tending more to be authoritarian rule of the country, annoyance from his long-term power – this has created prerequisites in the Turkish society for social-political blast.

 

Influential Islamic organization Hizmet ("Serving") was among the allies of the Justice and Development Party. Its Leader Fethullah Gulen has lived in the USA since 2006 and has serious power over the top establishment in Turkey. According to some data, the positions of the Hizmet’s Leader are strong primarily with the special security services. He is tolerant to other religions, promoting unification among the Muslims of various types. Gulen also preaches and develops traditional Turkish variant of Islam, although, without new theological concepts, but just suggesting their modern interpretation.

 

Fethullah Gulen is an upholder of the dialogue of different civilizations, cooperation with the EU. He constantly underlines the role of science and education in public development, that is why Hizmet promotes in Turkey and worldwide a whole network of educations institutions, establishes building schools and hospitals along with it.

 

Last summer the Hizmet’s Leader criticized the actions of the police and called the Prime-Minister a “Pharaoh”. Afterwards the ways of Erdogan and Gulen have split once and for all. The former allows have become irreconcilable enemies, and their confrontation resulted in corruption scandal. This has lead to a serious domestic political crises, which has been shaking Turkey for numerous months already …

 

Three times the Justice and Development Party won during the Parliamentary elections with the last time in 2011. Then Erdogan managed without allies to form a majority in the Parliament. The President of Turkey Abdullah Gul is also an AKP member. But relations of the two leaders of the country are marked with covered competition.

The President distances from the Prime Minister even more, stating that integration with the European Union remains the priority of the country’s policy. Meanwhile Erdogan frightens West that he’ll get closer to the “Shanghai Six”. The opposition hopes that Abdullah Gul shall be able to prevent the current movement of the country from traditional Turkish democracy.

The ruling Justice and Development Party has serious support mainly in central Turkey. But in big cities, more European ones, the Party of the Prime Minister shall hardly be of success.

 

And meanwhile the observers note foreign political activity of the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul. It has become known that he invited the Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kirgizia Almazbek Atambayev to visit Turley.

 

According to the information, Abdullah Gul gave a call to all Presidents and invited them for the IV Turkic Council Summit. The Presidents accepted the invitation. It’s worth noting that the date of the Summit has not been announced yet.

 

The experts note that from the five countries of the Central Asia region Turkey have preserved good relations only with these three states: Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan. As for Uzbekistan, then after the blames against Turkey in relation to the support of Uzbek opposition and its leaders, relations between the two countries are pretty cool. The representatives of Uzbekistan do not participate in various events of Turkic language countries and communities. Except for that, tensed relations are observed between Turkish business and Turkmen authorities.

 

In the Presidential Turkish Republic already nation-wide elected Head of the state shall be directly involved into regulation of all specified and other problems of the country.

 

 

21.02.2014

 

 

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