As expected Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now the President-elect of this great country of Turkey picking up 52% of the vote. Incidentally he had a crushing defeat the area that I live in Mersin. But the battle for Erdogan has only just started with him now wanting to change the constitution that has stood in place since Ataturk was named Turkey’s first President on 30 May 1920.
So what does that mean?
Simply put the role of President in Turkey is seen as more of a ceremonial post but Erdogan now wants to change that role to make it a more executive decision-maker as seen in the US.
How would he affect the change?
For Erdogan to change the Constitution he is going to need two-thirds of the vote in Parliament and right now I cannot see him getting that many votes although I guess only time will tell.
Accepting his win he spoke about “old” Turkey no doubt putting in first seeds in people’s minds about the need to change the Constitution:
“Today is the day that we initiate a social reconciliation process. Please leave aside the old discussions, old disputes, old tensions in the old Turkey. “
A nice speech but let’s remember this was the man who attempted (and for a period achieved his intention) of banning Twitter and Youtube (and for some strange reason the website Funny or Die is still blocked damn it!) as well as the recent corruption scandals and anti-Government protests. Turkey’s economic growth has now peaked and to be honest I think the Government is going to have its work cut out for it over the coming years.
Conservative or Secular?
With Erdogan becoming President and wanting to make executive decisions I see a huge change coming in Turkey’s future. A more conservative and religious future which will only polarise the more westernized secular Turkish person.
What happens now?
On 28 August Erdogan will take an oath in front of Parliament in which he promises to abide by Turkey’s principle of secularism. With his own Islamist leanings and his penchant for restricting rights such as freedom of speech may prove difficult for Erdogan to balance.
The result of the election was never in doubt but whether he will succeed as President and with his reforms still is. In our little village, however, there was still fun to be had with one enterprising person putting himself up for vote with little placards placed around the village. If only this vote counted.
I promise my next post will be a little brighter and giving you something more than political dribble. What is that old saying? Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Some such nonsense anyway.
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Even under the current laws of the presidency, he has the right to convene and chair cabinet meetings. Presidents have only used that in emergencies, but I bet that might change….