Let us first remember and put everything in consecutive order:
President Erdoğan’s intervention in the Central Bank of Turkey… His warning Ali Babacan, the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy, and his public announcement of this incident… The suspension of the transparency package by the government… Blocking referral of the four former ministers to the Supreme Council for corruption allegations... His direct intervention to the political will and AK Party’s candidacy policies during the Hakan Fidan (the undersecretary of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization MİT) incident… His opposition to the monitoring committee during the reconciliation process. His claim that the government did not inform him about the matter… And finally, his objection to the Dolmabahçe meeting held between the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)…
Politics in Turkey have been fixed solely on these issues and the tensions revolving around them for a while now…
The subject is always the same: the President… The entrance of the president in the field of execution, his confrontation with the government and his politics against his own party…
These developments prove once again that the actual crisis in Turkey is not about “the basic policies of the governing party,” but rather the “personalization of the rulership".
We must especially highlight the expression “The President’s politics against his own party”…
Under this framework, Turkey is witnessing a new situation as the axis of political determination is sliding into the “dominant political party.” This situation is a result of the relocations within the dominant political party and the differentiation of the scope of execution. As a matter of fact, the popular election of Erdoğan, who announced that he will stay in the political scene regardless of the conditions, and the emergence of the existence of “dual rulership-execution field, one of which is de facto and the other constitutional,” is a novel and difficult situation to administer. More importantly, Erdoğan’s patriarchal, political style, his understanding of a “leader” who represents this and the fact that in the existing scale leadership greatly outweighs institutionalism, all play an important role within this framework.
The last straw, which was going to break the camel's back 7 months ago, just broke it a few days ago.
Communication issues between the President and the government, tensions or cracks have all come to the surface with reciprocal statements.
Erdoğan’s disapproval of the Monitoring Committee's visit to İmralı Island -where PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan is serving a life sentence, - followed by his statement that he does not approve of the Dolmabahçe meeting and the declaration, the Government’s Spokesperson and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s reaction to his attitude by defending the government’s realm of authority and responsibility, calling the President to stay within his legal boundaries, are all explicit situations which cannot tolerate any comments.
Until today, these crises were fixed up through meetings held between Prime Minister Davutoğlu and Erdoğan. As a matter of fact, there had been a meeting between the two following this incident. We think the fact that Arınç’s statements do not represent the government, while the President’s outbursts significantly wear the government out and damage AK Party, may probably have been persuading enough.
The crisis will probably be somewhat cooled down.
However, when we look at the current state and the characteristics of the crisis, it could be observed that neither the President nor the government will take a step back. As a matter of fact, this is not a crisis which will be resolved at once, with its potential to result in new debates at any moment.
Now there are three questions which need to be answered:
The first one is: Why is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following such a path?
Would this be caused by the fact that he was not informed by the government?
In response to a question I asked him on our way back from the Ukrainian capital Kiev when I said, “Can we assume that Erdoğan did not approve of the Dolmabahçe meeting?” he said: “You wrote it in your piece today too, it is rather an exaggerated comment, there is no such thing.” However, Mahir Ünlü, Bülent Arınç and the circles close to the government claim the President is informed in a regular manner. Journalists closely watch the contacts made between relevant politicians and confirm them.
It is either that the President wants his instructions to be implemented precisely and reacts when this does not happen, or he is concerned about some of the issues he has approved in accordance with the current picture as the general elections approach. He then tries to make fine adjustments to the situation, or, with such outburst, he reflexively points to chaos trying to explain the necessity of a presidential system in Turkey. I think the current situation is a mixture of everything.
With regard to other questions that need to be answered…
What would the implications of this situation be for AK Party? For the reconciliation process?
To be continued tomorrow…