Jul 06 2018

Turkey’s shift to presidential system to impact foreign policy – Egyptian news

Turkey’s adoption of a new executive presidential system, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the first premiership of in the Jun. 24 elections, will have a deep impact on the country’s foreign policy and treatment of Kurds, said Nora Koloyan-Keuhnelian writing for the broadsheet Al Ahram’s English language site.

The switch to a presidential system has granted Erdoğan vastly enhanced powers, including the power to legislate by decree, and the office of prime minister has been abolished.

Erdoğan and his Justice and Devleopment Party (AKP) were able to claim victory in the fiercely contested elections thanks to an alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which boosted the vote for Erdoğan above the 50 percent mark needed to win the presidential race in the first round.

The combined seats of the two parties amount to a majority in parliament, which the AKP alone are 6 seats shy of.

Erdoğan’s alliance with the MHP means Turkey is not likely to ease its stance towards Syrian Kurds, and may increase its domestic actions against the Kurdish political movement, the writer quoted Ahval English chief editor İlhan Tanır as saying.

The Turkish president is also likely to continue balancing his relations with rivals Russia and the United States for as long as possible, according to Tanır.

“Things like the S-400 Russian missile system and whether eventual delivery of the systems take place will be another important turn in the relations of Erdogan with the West and East. However, everything has a price. More conflicts around and inside Turkey will push many investors and tourists away. It should be expected that Erdogan will continue his domination in foreign policy. Erdogan has to make some sharp U-turns if he wants better relations with the West going forward,” Al Ahram quoted Tanır as saying.

The Turkish agreement with Russia to purchase the S-400 missile system has driven a deep wedge between Turkey and its traditional Western allies in NATO, who fear the system will damage their defence interoperability and offer Russia a back door through which to access sensitive data.

Domestically, Erdoğan has amassed a huge amount of power which he is unlikely to relinquish, a necessary step to rehabilitate the country’s rule of law, Tanır said.

And, despite the good news that the state of emergency, which has been in place since after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, is to be lifted, Turkey’s shambolic opposition and weakened parliament is unlikely to pose the president too many obstacles.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has refused to step down after eight years of uninspiring performances and defeat in elections, setting the party up for a potential leadership contest with Muharrem İnce, its presidential candidate on Jun. 24, as the contender.

“As long as this lack of accountability is present among the opposition, they cannot be successful. They, opposition blocs, should not try to unseat Erdogan before being able to unseat their own losing leaders,” Tanır was quoted as saying