Turkey is experiencing a major problem with its system. The parliamentary system produces more problems than solutions and obstructs politics. The most recent example of this systemic crisis is Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's announcement of his decision to resign and that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will hold an emergency convention where he will not run as a candidate. This picture is not something new, as we have seen in many past instances that exemplify the parliamentary system's harm to Turkey. This system creates a duality in administration and chaos in power and consolidates bureaucracy, making the mechanism awkward. Before the AK Party came to power, the clearest visual expression of the fact that the system produces crises was seen when then President Ahmet Necdet Sezer threw a book of the Constitution at then Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. Because of that quarrel and what a bad administration brought previously, Turkey experienced a deep economic crisis in 2001 when many of my graduate friends could not find a job for at least a year.
This problem can be resolved with a change in the governmental system. Turkey needs a democratic, presidential system in which a healthy system of checks and balances functions and powers operate independently from one another. Indeed, Turkey has been struggling for this for 30 years. Late President Turgut Özal wanted to transform Turkey's system, but he could not. Likewise, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's desire to switch to a presidential system does not merely stem from his case in recent years. Since he was elected Istanbul mayor in 1994, Erdoğan has advocated a presidential system on many television programs. Before that, you can see the statements about a presidential system he made while serving as a provincial head of the Welfare Party (RP).
Many liberal democrats, particularly Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) founder Besim Tibuk, say a presidential system will bring many benefits to Turkey. Today, as previously seen in many issues, some object to a presidential system for the sake of objecting to Erdoğan in an obstinate manner instead of initiating an intellectual debate about the essence of the matter. This is very ridiculous and irrational. What does a categorical objection to a presidential system mean? If we can discuss the issue properly, perhaps we can reach the most proper and most democratic system for Turkey. Unfortunately, efforts to replace the parliamentary system with a presidential system stagger around now. Although the AK Party makes some statements, there is yet to be a conclusive prepared text.
I think a single-member and two-round presidential system model is proper for Turkey. In other words, the entire country would be divided into constituencies that include several thousand voters. All parties would determine candidates in these constituencies. In this way, candidates who are well-known and trusted by voters can be elected to Parliament to represent them. There would also be a quota to elect a certain number of "Turkey deputyships" in order to address both local and national issues in Parliament in a balanced way. This two-round election would mean that the candidates from the two parties that receive the largest number of votes in all constituencies would run in the second round. In this way, an elected candidate would have to receive more than 50 percent of the vote. On the other hand, as deputies would feel accountable to their own party base in order to be re-elected, they would have to take the party base, rather than the party leader, into consideration while making plans. This would strengthen democracy within parties.
I think such a model would help us overcome our current problems, strengthen democracy and remove the awkwardness of the parliamentary system. If the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) can leave aside their feelings and start producing policies, we can achieve a healthy ground for discussion. Unfortunately, however, they still seem far from this point.