04/21/2017, 17.54
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Republican Turkey and the Erdogan phenomenon (Part One)

by NAT da Polis

The changes to the Constitution, through a popular referendum, fertile ground to claim and exercise power, in an authoritarian and personal context, like a new Kemal Ataturk.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The referendum of April 16, 2017, has subjected the Constitution of the Turkish Republic founded by General Kemal Ataurk in 1923, to a fifth amendment. The first two, of 1961 and 1982, following the convictions of the Kemali army, the last three, 2007, 2010 and 2017, following the referendums convoked at the express desire of Tayyip Erdogan.

The most important changes to the Constitution of the Turkish Republic following the April 16 referendum, desired by the Turkish president and held during a state of emergency following the attempted coup on July 16, 2016 by some fringes of the armed forces, provide:

The abolition of the Prime Minister. The President of the Republic will nominate the Council of Ministers and a number of Vice-Presidents. The parliament will have no control over the ministers or the right to vote them out.

The president no longer needs to be bipartisan, so he can continue to uphold his own party.

The number of deputies rises from 550 to 600 and the lowering of the minimum age to take up a parliamentary seat from 25 to 18 years.

The parliament may denounce the President of the Republic in the Court of Justice. So far, you could bring the president before the Court in case of treason.

The abolition of Military Courts.

The president will nominate 4 of the thirteen judges of the Supreme Court.

It should be noted that the three previous referendums requested by Erdogan had the support of most of the Turkish electorate in its various components, including Kurdish electorate and non-Muslim minorities. The latter with the rise in power of Erdogan in 2002 began to breathe with the recognition of their property rights, trampled on by the previous regime, and their partial restitution.  In real terms, it referred to those properties of which there were still traces following the plundering of Kemalist regimes ... Certainly there is still much to be done.

All referendums are held by Erdogan as a vote of confidence  in him, as he considers himself to be the counter culture with regards to Kemalism.

The result of the last referendum,  51.4% in favor, confirmed that the political scene in Turkey hinges on voting for or against Erdogan. As for the geography of the vote, it should be noted that Erdogan lost in the big cities and won in Anatolian Turkey, the land of so-called Anatolian tigers, that of the new Turkish economy, founded on a neo-liberal economy in a conservative society. Turkish emigrants in Europe.

This time the yes vote lacked the constituency of the nationalist MHP party leader, Devlet Baxceli. He had stood with Erdogan at the last political elections of December 2015, dominated by the AKP Erdogan’s party, with 49.50%, gaining a full 11.90%.

The Kurdish element excluded some outlying areas of Anatolia, which voted no, as well as the alevite element.

The CHP party, seen as the heir apparent to Kemal Atartuk's paty, was truly inconsistent in its opposition.

It should be stressed that Istanbul and Izmir once inhabited by so-called white Turks are turning into Kurdish cities because of Kurdish internal migration, motivated by the conflict between the Turkish forces and the PKK. It should also be emphasized that the same Kurds who had voted in the previous referendum in favor of Erdogan voted against him this time. This because, while in the past Erdogan had tried to resolve the Kurdish question, through confidential contacts between Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Ocalan between 2009 and 2011. These agreements were torn apart in 2011 by allies of Imam Fethullah Gulen’s movement who were within the public administration.  This led to a return to the Kemalist military solution to the Kurdish issue and there was the release and absolution of the old military leaders from any involvement in the Ergenekon and Balyoz affairs.

It is well known that the imam Gulen has never sympathized with the Kurds of Turkey. Gulen, President Erdogan's companion in his move to power in 2002 in their united aim of undermining the power of the military and the old establishment and his deadly foe from 2011 onwards.

In short, a clash for power that finds its roots in the conception of democracy in the Turkish universe. It is no coincidence that changes to the Constitution of the Turkish Republic since 2007, with the use of the referendum, have been conceived as fertile ground to claim and exercise power, in an authoritarian and personal framework, like a new Kemal Ataturk.

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