President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared last week that his choice, backed by the AK Party organization, would be to support the candidacy of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu as his successor, the new leader of the party. The first extraordinary congress of the AK Party gathered yesterday in a festive atmosphere and endorsed the president-elect's choice. Davutoğlu has been elected as the chairman of the party which will open wide the road to premiership, once Prime Minister Erdoğan becomes president. The composition of the new cabinet of ministers, which is expected to be announced on Friday, will be announced shortly after and then the vote of confidence in the Parliament will take place. No doubt the new government will be a strong team in charge of implementing the president-elect's strategy and vision. President-elect Erdoğan made a long farewell speech, deeply sentimental in places, underlining that in his new capacity as president he would remain close to the political life and monitor the implementation of the strategies he designed.
What are the main features of this strategy: first and foremost, a new Constitution, to be prepared by the AK Party in the post-2015 parliamentary elections period, to replace the straitjacket imposed by the coup of 1980, which is anti-democratic and obsolete. Second would be the "resolution" process, which remains one of the major achievements of the president-elect and its finalization to reassure all segments of society remains imperative. Thirdly, the struggle against organizations and guilds which are trying to impose a "state within the state" regime on the system will be addressed. Certainly, the overall objective remains the long run, which is by 2023 – the centennial of the Republic – Turkey will be among the top 10 world economies. President-elect Erdoğan has underlined in his speech that he would also closely survey investment policies, which he sees as an inseparable part of the new governance.
President-elect Erdoğan will be much better positioned, with his new mandate, to oversee and support the reconciliation process and to solve once and for all the Kurdish problem. He will finally be in a position of arbitration, in his capacity of a directly-elected president, he will also be in charge of mediating, if need be, between parties involved and supporting the whole process. The outcome of the Kurdish issue and the reconciliation process will, on the other hand, open new perspectives for a new constitution to be devised. Leaders before Erdoğan, like the late Turgut Özal or former President Süleyman Demirel, have tried to solve the Kurdish problem by recognizing the "Kurdish reality." Despite having democratic legitimacy and mandates, the tutelage system of the old Turkish regime, mainly through the armed forces, did not allow them to continue in that vein. All their attempts have been sabotaged, with the awful results we fully comprehend only now.
What is in fact meant by the "new Turkey, new era" slogan is exactly this: Turkish society has had enough tutors who were seemingly in charge of forging "solutions" to the problems. It wants to solve its problems by itself, which is the true meaning of this directly-elected presidential system. Not only does it refuse existing tutelage systems, but it also prevents new tutelage systems replacing the old ones by mainly installing a leadership directly responsible for voter and controllable by voters. Without understanding this deep transformation of the society, political struggle in Turkey becomes unintelligible for the observer. The main divide remains between forces supporting this evolution and those opposing it. There is also the latent danger of seeing anti-democratic forces to sabotage this transformation. The current political situation still remains under threat by obscure forces whose moves can be unpredictable and detrimental to democracy. That shows all of us how delicate and hazardous the democratic transitions within Turkish society are.