Jul 11 2018

New presidential system “critical juncture” for Turkey

Turkey’s transition to an executive presidency marks a “critical juncture” in the history of the Turkish Republic, wrote Burhanettin Duran of SETA (the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research), a Turkish think-tank closely aligned with the government, in Daily Sabah newspaper.

The new system, which officially began on Monday with the swearing in of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his victory in June elections, transforms Turkey from a parliamentary democracy into a country in which the president enjoys vast executive powers.

“The adoption of the presidential system marked the beginning of the third stage of our history,” Duran wrote, "The first turning point was the proclamation of the republic in 1923. The second leap forward took place in 1950 when Turkey became a multiparty democracy.”

The fresh start afforded by the new system will, says Duran, offer Erdoğan the chance to change, “the notion of government, not just its structure,” and “transform Turkey's static, slow and guardianship-prone bureaucracy based on performance and merit.”

Looking forwards, Duran suggests that while the “war on terror” will continue, Turkey will need to reconsider a host of existing policies, including those relating to, “structural transformation, culture, education, higher education, agriculture, food and livestock.”

He also noted the heavy price Turkey has paid to reach this point and the need to develop, “comprehensive policies to build a better future and prevent turmoil.”