It all happened in a single day only. An extraordinary congress was the result reached in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's ordinary meeting the previous evening. The next morning (yesterday), the Congress date was scheduled for May 22 during the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Central Executive Board. This was followed by Davutoğlu's farewell speech on live national television. And that was the end of it. Davutoğlu stepped down from his role as prime minister.
I cannot really say I know Davutoğlu very well. I first met him when he accompanied President Erdoğan's wife Emine Erdoğan on her Myanmar trip – President Erdoğan was prime minister at the time and Davutoğlu was foreign minister. I clearly remember him embracing with tears the Muslims in Arakan, a region that a Turkish delegation had entered for the very first time. The second time I saw him in person was during the November 1 election; he was in a meeting with Yeni Şafak journalists before going on air on TV Net.
Therefore, there is not much I can say about the “Davutoğlu I know.” While watching him from a distance, I tried to avoid siding with anyone (both on social media and through my column) during the disagreements he had with President Erdoğan from time to time. I didn't think it was appropriate to discuss such conflict so explicitly in front of the public. This attitude did not bode well for the prosperity of the country.
Acting as though things disappear when you turn away from them....
Yesterday Davutoğlu made such a constructive speech that, I believe that even those who criticized him for not acting in synchronization with the president, for digressing on important issues and gearing down a growing Turkey, perceived this speech as constructive and positive. His solemn farewell was like a lesson for the political actors who could not have enough of division and fights even when they were opposition.
Meanwhile, everything aside, there is an oddity shown to us by the conflict that has vaguely started to form in the community, which those like us, who follow politics closely, have witnessed more profoundly, by this period which we are going through in long-lasting internal anguish and concern.
That oddity is that Turkey is going through a system crisis. This has been expressed structurally since 2007, when the people were given the right to choose their own president after a referendum, and physically since 2014, when Erdoğan was elected president of Turkey. This is not even done through a political party. A president “personally” garners 52 percent of the public vote and becomes president, but is expected to only sign and act as a public notary (like in the old tutelage system) although he nearly has the same rights and responsibilities as the prime minister.
The problem is that even though the president was also chosen by the people along with the prime minister and who is, in this context, at least as legitimate as the prime minister, the parliamentary system continued to operate, as a new constitution promising to complete the system change was not made. This was some sort of a Frankenstein model.
At this point I would have to say the criticism of “Erdoğan looking for a 100-percent compatible prime minister” is extremely unfair and baseless. It is clear that the issues that Davutoğlu and Erdoğan disagreed on are not insignificant. Secondly, when Erdoğan discussed the presidential system issue, he always brought up these two problems that had existed since 2007. Which means anyone who was in Davutoğlu's place would have had a difference of opinion in this case. There is a possibility that the name that will replace Davutoğlu will have issues with the president because of the system.
Yes, the group that said “we will not allow you to become president” showed great effort to hamper the work on the presidential system and the new constitution. But the genie came out of the bottle with the 2007 referendum...
In conclusion, I would like to say, I hope this new decision brings prosperity to Davutoğlu, who successfully fulfilled his duties as prime minister, to our country's politics and our people...