Turkish Presidency to ask citizens’ views on executive presidential system

The Turkish Presidency is conducting a survey to learn people’s views of the country’s new executive presidential system, the Turkish pro-government Daily Sabah said on Monday.

The survey falls under the scope of a broader project led by Vice President Fuat Oktay to evaluate the first year of the new system, which was inaugurated after the June 24, 2018 national elections.

Oktay has taken the opinion of “ministers, high-level state officials, governors, parliament members, some municipal mayors and directors in the presidential office”, and will now ask ordinary people to discuss their views of the first year of the new system and describe their expectations for its future, the Daily Sabah said.

The new system transferred many decision-making powers from parliament to the presidency, doing away with the position of prime minister and granting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the power to rule by decree.

Along with vastly enhancing the president’s position, the system increased the share of the vote required to take the top spot to 50 percent plus one. Before moving to the presidency in 2014, Erdoğan had ruled Turkey as prime minister by gaining a parliamentary majority.

News of Oktay’s research led to speculation among in the press that Erdoğan planned to make far-reaching changes and redistribute executive powers after this year’s local elections indicated the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was losing support.

However, reliable commentators have said the study would be used to fine-tune the new system rather than effect wholesale change to it.

Veteran journalist Murat Yetkin said in a blog post last week that Erdoğan had little need to relinquish any of his powers under the executive presidential system.

Abdulkadir Selvi, a journalist known for his close connection to the AKP, said in a column on Monday that the study would not result in any constitutional changes.

“It will be a revision of the system more than a change to it”, Selvi said.