The atmosphere of Erdoğan's historic inauguration ceremony

Published 12.07.2018 23:39

Many things will change with the new system, but the most important of these changes will be the strengthening of politics as an institution

July 9, 2018 was a turning point in Turkey's history. The new system came into effect on that day. First, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was sworn in at the Parliament, and then the inauguration ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace in Beştepe.

I was one of those who followed that ceremony. As a journalist, I followed a very meaningful and important event in which we witnessed a number of firsts. The parliamentary system in Turkey became a thing of past. A new page was turned in which executive and legislative powers were separated, the President established his own Cabinet alone, and the powers gained strength within themselves.

Let me talk about the event a bit. There were around 6,000 guests and white seats were prepared for everyone. Many leaders and authorities from Europe, the Middle East and Africa were among the guests. Media bosses, senior executives and we, the journalists, sat immediately behind the front row where foreign guests, government figures, former prime ministers and special guests were seated.

President Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan entered the Presidential Palace at 6:30 p.m. Their arrival by car starting from Parliament was reflected step-by-step on the way to the ceremony via LCD projector. The most beautiful classics of Turkish and Western music were played.

A leader who embraces the East and the West, who has changed the state system, who has considerably grown Turkey... A founding leader... I saw that was the intention in Erdoğan's mood on Monday and the spirit that was reflected in the ceremony. A president who is at the peak of his power, who has overcome all obstacles, who has broadened his sphere of influence and who points to the 2023 vision goals.

Many things will change with the new system. I think the most important of these changes is the strengthening of the institution of politics. The tutelary system, which suffocated democracy and legitimized military coups in Turkey for years, is becoming history. Now, civilians will decide on military promotions. While the structure called the National Security Council increased the number of civilians in its body in the Erdoğan era, this council was still deciding on military promotions. With the presidential decree issued on July 9, this committee becomes a thing of the past.

One example of a change in mentality, though not related to it, is the appointment of the Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar as the minister of defense in the new Cabinet. Previously, chiefs of general staff in Turkey were positioned above presidents and prime ministers, let alone the ministers of defense. The military had immense influence and power in politics. Commanders were almost the guardians of politics. Now, there is a revolution in which the Chief of General Staff has been promoted to the ministry of defense.

Another important change is the destruction of the previous understanding in the bureaucracy. From now on, the executive body will determine senior bureaucrats and decide on whom they want to work with. The bureaucracy often appeared to be an obstacle to actions. This will be hampered and bureaucracy will be reduced. As for Parliament, it will work separately from the executive body and make laws in itself. The laws that Parliament will issue will outweigh presidential decrees.

In short, a model will run in which the functioning logic of the state has changed, decisions can be made more quickly, and powers operate separately. We will see the micro and macro effects of this in the upcoming period. However, we can already say that Turkey has turned a completely new page...

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