16.05.2021

Can Erdogan control the government?

Sole governance without a coalition has always remained the main election mantra of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey (AKP), which claims that coalitions pose a threat to political stability.

The party has managed to remain at the helm of power since it came to power in 2002. As of June 24, in the opinion polls, the AKP founder, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was reelected with a 52.6% margin in the vote, which offers wider powers under the new control systems.

Nevertheless, the AKP was not able to get an absolute majority in the parliament with 600 seats, that is, it would have to agree to a kind of “hidden coalition” to pass laws. In the November 2015 elections, the party won 49.5% of the vote and won 317 out of 550 seats in parliament. On June 24, the AKP received 42.5% of the vote and 295 seats in parliament. It was less than 301 space needed for most.
The result presented the far-right “Nationalist Movement Party” (IPA) as a natural partner of the AKP coalition. The PND, which disputed the elections in alliance with the AKP and supported the re-election of Erdogan, won 11.1% of the vote and 49 deputy mandates.

However, as Turkish journalist Ayala Ganioglu writes for Al Monitor, during the campaign, both parties showed that they were far from in perfect condition, including on such major issues as the state of emergency since the unsuccessful coup attempt in July 2016.

IPA leader Devlet Bahceli argued that the emergency should continue, although Erdogan said it would not last longer than July 19, when the last six-month period expires. In addition, Bahceli persistently called for a broad amnesty for many prisoners only to receive decisive refusals from government officials.

In Turkey, the incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the presidential election. Vladimir Putin congratulated him on his re-election.

At their first meeting after the June 27 elections, Erdogan and Bahceli agreed to lift the state of emergency, but Bahceli seems to have benefited greatly. It is reported that both parties will consider amendments to the law on combating terrorism, the law on internal security and the Criminal Code, which compensate for the lifting of the state of emergency.

The deal is a sign of a modus operandi between two partners for the coming period. Simply put, on issues where the PNA draws the red line, the AKP will have to make concessions in order to achieve what it wants.

In anticipation of the meeting with Erdogan, Bahceli fired a senior party official who challenged Erdogan and the AKP. Thus, he made an important gesture, showing that he wants a harmonious relationship for the next 5 years.

During the bilateral meeting, Erdogan and Bahceli agreed to create a permanent national commission to work on resolving differences between the two parties.

Nevertheless, despite the mutual desire for an agreement, Erdogan does not want to share power. As the leader of the AKP, he was never in opposition and had no coalition partner, and his party always held a strong position in parliament.

The only exception was the June 2015 election, as a result of which the AKP lost its parliamentary majority. Nevertheless, Erdogan successfully maneuvered to avoid the creation of a coalition government and to ensure the holding of elections in November this year, returning the parliamentary majority of the AKP.

Erdogan now has expanded executive powers, but his party is deprived of a majority in parliament, which makes many wonder whether history will repeat itself. Can Erdogan challenge the early elections in the fall in order to strengthen his parliamentary support and put an end to pressure that forces him to act in an alliance with the PNA or some other party?

Attila Sertel, the legislator of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, believes that the AKP and the PND will inevitably fall apart.

Yusuf Halakoglu, a prominent member of the opposition party Iyi, believes that Erdogan will look for other ways to get rid of his dependence on the PND, namely that he will try to force lawmakers from other parties to switch to the AKP so that the AKP can get a parliamentary majority.

There are already signs that the RPS may receive support from parties other than the IPA. Mehmet Aslan, a founding member of the Good Party, which was created last year by PNA defectors and received 43 seats in parliament, said shortly after the election that the AKP could receive support from the Good Party.

Erdogan’s upcoming appointment of vice presidents and ministers, as well as the election of the speaker of parliament, will be the first signs of how harmonious the PSR-IPA partnership will be in the next 5 years.

Erdogan now has the opportunity to rule the country in accordance with presidential decrees, despite the fact that the post of prime minister has been completely canceled. However, Parliament may repeal these decrees.

Since the PSR-PND alliance owns an absolute majority of 344 seats in the parliament, the opposition has little chance of enforcing laws that violate Erdogan’s decrees. However, theoretically, the possibility of switching sides of the PNA and participation on the side of the opposition remains. In addition, any possible cooperation with the “Good Party” may strike at the AKP alliance with the IPA.

Under the new system, early parliamentary elections can be established either by the president or parliament, requiring a three-fifths majority. However, if the president calls, early presidential elections will be mandatory along with parliamentary ones.

Meanwhile, in March 2019, Turkey plans to hold local elections. Already there are reports that the RPS will seek to conduct surveys until October or November, to the point that many consider to be an inevitable aggravation of the country’s economic problems. This, in turn, reminds of the possibility that the ruling party can get early parliamentary elections along with municipal ones, trying to get a majority in the legislature.

Erdogan already became Turkey’s longest-running leader when the prime minister and president were combined, he managed to surpass by 15 months the 15-year continuous rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey and the first president, from October 29, 1923 until his On November 10, 1938, Erdogan became Prime Minister in March 2003 and held office until his election as President in 2014.

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