President Tayyip Erdoğan becoming a party member in a ceremony at AKP Headquarters ushered in a period in which the separation of powers, on which democracy in the country is based, will end. Erdoğan will become the sole guiding force of the legislature, executive and judiciary when he becomes general chair at the extraordinary congress on 21 May.
With the separation of powers vanishing as President Tayyip Erdoğan became a party member, the legislature, executive and judiciary will be concentrated in one hand. Erdoğan will manage both the AKP and, as president, the state and government once he becomes general chair at the extraordinary congress to be held on 21 May. Erdoğan will chair his party’s Central Executive Committee and Central Decision and Executive Committee. He will hold group meetings in parliament. Erdoğan, who will acquire the power to appoint and fire the party’s provincial and sub-provincial chairs, will decide who gets to stand as mayoral and parliamentary candidates prior to general and local elections. Absolutely no statutory regulation will be able to pass through parliament without Erdoğan’s approval. Erdoğan, who will dominate the AKP group, will also set parliament’s agenda. Erdoğan will also hold sway over the judiciary under the constitutional amendment. Erdoğan will appoint twelve of the fifteen members of the Constitutional Court and seven of the thirteen members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors directly, and four of them thanks to the AKP’s parliamentary majority. Two members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, on the other hand, will be the natural members of the Minister of Justice and the Justice Ministry Undersecretary, whom Erdoğan and the AKP will appoint. As such, Erdoğan and the AKP will determine the entire membership of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. The AKP will solve the problem of the two-thirds majority needed in the final round for the seven members to be appointed by parliament by giving an allocation to the MHP, but the majority on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors will always consist of individuals appointed by the AKP.
Gül did not attend
Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım and his wife Semiha Yıldırım received Erdoğan and his wife Emine at headquarters. Then Erdoğan passed into the auditorium and, having shaken hands with former Prime-Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, chatted with him for a while and took his place in the section in which Davutoğlu was sitting. It was notable that former President Abdullah Gül and former Deputy Prime-Minister Bülent Arınç did not attend the meeting. Erdoğan signed his membership form and became a party member. Tears were evident in the eyes of Erdoğan, Yıldırım and certain MPs during the ceremony.
Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım, stating that he had experienced a historic day and was in great joy, said, ‘Your Excellency the President, welcome back to your house and home that you yourself established. Your presence is welcome. The truth of the matter is that there is no need to say “Welcome” to the owner of the house.’ Yıldırım, stating that they had decided to hold an extraordinary congress on 21 May, said they would put Erdoğan forward as candidate for general chair.
The longing ends
Erdoğan, stating that his 979 days’ longing had ended and he had re-entered the party saying, ‘Peace be with you,’ said, ‘I had to leave in compliance with the Constitution, and I am returning to my party, home, love and passion of which I am the founder.’ Erdoğan, stating that important events had been experienced in the country over the nearly two and a half year period in which he had by law remained separate from the party, said that those who did not want to accept a president brought into office with the people’s votes were getting up to business that would make them look comical. Erdoğan, said, ‘Those who said, “I will not come” finally one day learnt the way to Beştepe.’ Erdoğan, referring to the 15 July coup attempt, stated that they saw on 15 July what can befall them if there is no decisive and speedy fight against terrorist organisations, not least the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation. Erdoğan said, ‘Now some people are saying, “Well, it’s fair here, and unfair, this and that.” There is a judiciary and a legal system in the country and the judiciary is functioning. There may be those who come in tears before us. If we take pity, we may ourselves end up being pitiable.’
Harsh words for the EU
Erdoğan, having harsh words of criticism for EU countries, stated that the EU had no other choice but to open the chapters and said, ‘If you open them, all good and well, and if not, goodbye.’ Erdoğan, stating that Turkey was not their palace servant, expressed the view, ‘There is a NATO summit soon and there are requests for discussions there. They have listed five points from top to bottom. I look at those five points: “Turkey must take the first step, the state of emergency must end, that must happen and this must happen.” Skip these things, skip them. What are you going to do? Tell us that. Go to France first and end the state of emergency. You are not going to end that but you are going to end our state of emergency. What are we going to use to fight this terrorism? We are not going to proclaim a state of emergency and we are going to get permission from the gentlemen. Is such a thing possible? Hence, the only thing we will say to them is first you will sort out these chapters and keep the promises you made. Then we will sit at the table and talk. Otherwise, we will have nothing left to discuss with you.’
Erdoğan, placing the stress on, ‘One people, one flag, one country and one state,’ stated that an alternative flag to the Turkish flag could never be conceived, said, ‘I am afraid to say that we will never look at that cloth like those who look at it harbouring such intent. Whatever is called for, we will do it to them. For precisely this reason we will call a halt to the PYD and YPG and their designs in north Syria and everyone must know this. We will cut our own umbilical cord. There is no use to us and no support to us from others.’
Give thanks to ‘Yes’
Erdoğan touched on the referendum results and, while expressing his gratitude to the 25.2 million citizens who voted ‘yes’, also thanked those who voted ‘no’ for having exercised their democratic rights. Erdoğan commented, ‘But, our thanks to them probably require them to thank those who voted ‘yes’. It is not very important if this happens or not. We are continuing on our road, anyway. It was not a 51.4% AK Party and 48.6% CHP vote. So, let nobody deceive anybody. We have local, parliamentary and presidential elections ahead of us. Everything will emerge far more clearly from these.’
The ECHR cannot interfere
Erdoğan, criticising the CHP’s taking the referendum results to the ECHR, said that the ECHR had no such jurisdiction. Erdoğan said, ‘It has no jurisdiction to interfere in this country’s electoral affairs. The defeated wrestler cannot stop feeling sorry for himself. Be patient. There are elections ahead of us in 2019. Get well prepared for that election and win over the people’s hearts.’ Erdoğan, stressing that the 2019 elections were very important, wished for party organisations not to be overcome with torpor and to work harder.