The new system: Typhoon after Erdoğan? - AYDIN ÜNAL

The new system: Typhoon after Erdoğan?

The aim and content of the constitutional amendment to be put to referendum in April is becoming clearer in the eyes of the public. Once the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) campaigns kick off and the leaders are on the ground, there will be no trace left of the question marks and reservations. What's most important is that the misinformation produced and spread by the opposition is going to end.

A concern – not produced by the opposition – has formed among the electorate in relation to the new system and is increasingly spreading: "This system is good with a leader like President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but what is going to happen after him?"

Rightfully so, because the change we are making is going to shape the upcoming centuries, not just the next five to 10 years. May he live long, but like all living beings, President Erdoğan is also mortal. What will happen if the AK Party loses the power to rule, if the right-wing parties lose, if the Republican People's Party (CHP) or - worse - formations like an alliance between the CHP and Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) come to power, if the left-wing moves into the seat of power? Will there be a typhoon after Erdoğan? Will a leftist president, who takes office for a five-year term and has very strong authorities, not reverse everything Turkey has achieved? For example, will the headscarf ban not come back? Will terror not gain power? Will the economy not suffer irreparable injuries? Will corruption not increase? As a matter of fact, will the Quran not be banned like in the past?

It is worth reiterating that the system change is not being made for Erdoğan himself. Like all his efforts and services, Erdoğan is thinking about Turkey's present and future, not himself. He is striving to leave behind works that will continue after him and keep Turkey united and strong. He is trying to build a strong system so that our children do not go through the problems – the instability, coalitions, economic crises, coups – that our grandparents, parents and we went through. He is establishing a system that can work not only with strong leaders, but a system that can work with the politics of works, services and projects.

If we look at the matter through the existing system:

The AK Party has been in power for the last 14 years. Let's note that this is an exception in our democratic history. Since 1946, no party remained in power for so long – whether with breaks or not. And it wasn't always the right-wing parties that governed the country after 1946. There have been times that the electorate, with their profound foresight and insight and, of course, their rationality, punished the right-wing parties. Even if not alone, at times, it elected the CHP as the ruling party, making it a coalition partner. The AK Party will remain in power as long as it continues to maintain its dynamism and enthusiasm, as long as it continues to produce works and services; if it loses this, the electorate will immediately do whatever is necessary. Did we not already witness this on June 7, 2015? Did we not see the electorate give the AK Party a warning?

Just as the electorate punishes the party that does not work in the existing system, the party that loses its dynamism, enthusiasm and ambition to work will be punished in the new system as well. What's more is that in the new system, the people themselves will be the ones to bring parties to power and bring them down. Whatever the people do, there is no doubt that they will do the best.

In dear Ahmet İyimaya's words, “Every transformation forms its own sociology.” With the new system, it is not possible for the CHP to remain like the existing CHP and left-wing parties to remain like the existing left. If the opposition wants to come to power, this time it needs to start changing its mindset, policies and the way it works. The opposition that wants to come to power must first stop being lazy and work, put in effort. The opposition must understand the electorate speak the same language as the people and look in the same direction as the people. It will be out of the question for a party that is capable of making this change and receive approval from the people to come to power to destroy Turkey's achievements, freedoms and values, rob the Treasury and resort to corruption like the existing opposition parties.

It needs to be specifically stressed that in the new system, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), or Parliament, will be in a positon that has greater control and restraint over the president. Just as the president has the authority to take the country to elections, so does the Parliament. A wrong-doing president can be taken to elections by Parliament without having to wait out the five-year term. While in the existing system the president is unaccountable, in the new system, it will be both possible and easier to hold the president accountable.

In the new system, exploiting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, and laicism, polarizing through lifestyles, separation through ideologies and doing politics with support from terror, will not score points. The party that has a project, a horizon, a vision, that embraces the people, that works and puts in effort is going to be favored by the people. Exactly as it is in the current state, whoever the people choose is going to be the best choice.

There is no need for concern. If one day, let's say we lose, this will not be because the people made the wrong choice, but because of our mistakes. The beauty of the new system is that it does not completely wipe out the loser from the field; it gives them a chance to review and renew themselves.


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