The July 15 failed coup attempt has shown that Turkey needs a major overhaul in its state system from top to bottom and this means an urgent need for a new constitution that will chart the course for this major overhaul.
The fact that we have a president who was directly elected by the people, but we do not have a presidential system and we are still trying to run the state with a parliamentary system, has created serious complications. It even created a clash of power before the coup attempt.
Now the coup has created an even deeper mess in the state structure. The process of weeding out the coup plotters from the state system has brought about the need to create a system that is democratic but eliminates the sluggish bureaucracy and restructures many state institutions.
This means opening a new chapter in Turkey and thus we have to eliminate the current Constitution, which was written by generals after the 1980 coup. Everyone agreed this was a necessity even before July 15, yet the parties simply could not agree on how to write a new constitution.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) forged an understanding with the opposition parties in Parliament to make a fresh attempt to draft a new constitution after the positive political atmosphere created following the coup attempt. That move however resulted in the parties agreeing to change only seven articles in the Constitution, which was a great disappointment.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli has grasped the need to end the confusion in the Turkish state system where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AK Party have created a de facto presidential system and has moved to extend a helping hand to end the mess and create a viable system, presidential or not, to end this situation.
Bahçeli says he is not sold on the presidential system and wants a strengthened parliamentary system. However, he also says the de facto presidential set up in Turkey is a reality. So to end the confusion we have to refer the issue to the Turkish people and accept the popular verdict.
This means you pass the new constitution drafted by the AK Party, then you refer it to a national referendum.
Under normal circumstances and because of democratic considerations it would only be natural to refer such a vital issue to the nation. Yet especially after the coup attempt, the Turkish nation, which braved the tanks, armory and jets of the coup plotters and thus saved democracy, have gained an even greater moral say in the way the nation is run. A nation that sacrificed its life to protect democracy thus has a major say in how this country should be run in the future.
However, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) opposes any new constitution drafted by the AK Party as well as the establishment of a presidential system. It also opposes a referendum saying the masses are not qualified to take such a decision, as our people are mostly conservative and cannot make a proper judgement like the elite that governed the country until 2002. The CHP is well aware that the masses will vote for a presidential system and thus is trying to avoid this.
The end game is that if the AK Party sees to it that all its deputies vote for a presidential system and the MHP extends a helping hand in Parliament then Turkey seems to be heading for a referendum in the spring of 2017. After that nothing will ever be the same in Turkey.