After long gestation period, followed by intense and detailed discussions in Parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) proposal to comprehensively amend the Constitution received the necessary parliamentary endorsement with the support of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and was sent to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for approval, before being put to a public referendum.
In 2007, the presidential election had turned into a political crisis, dominating the agenda for much of the year. This was a system where even the straightforward election of a president by Parliament can cause cardiac arrest for the functioning of the state. It was eventually decided that the head of state should be elected directly by the people, with Erdoğan in 2014 becoming the first directly-elected president of the Republic.
One look at the region surrounding Turkey is enough to show how important stability and an accelerated decision mechanism is for the Turkish state. As things stand, Turkey is run by a Constitution prepared by the junta that took over after the 1980 military coup. Since then, innumerable changes to the text tried to democratize the country and broaden the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the citizens. However, within the confines of the parliamentary system, such efforts eventually proved of limited value. Amendments over the decades focused on minute alterations in the Constitution prepared under heavy military tutelage.
Since it was first introduced in 1982, the country has suffered from long periods of political instability. In the 1990s, Turkey was governed, or more appropriately, misgoverned, by a series of isolationist coalitions. No wonder the 1990s are referred to as the "lost decade."
Turkey no longer has the luxury of wasting time with a constitution that breeds instability. It urgently needs an effective governing system that will remove the shackles that are tying it down.
While trying to pilot the ship of state through many crises gripping the surrounding region, the government also needs to preserve and develop the country's strengths.
Neighboring two failed states in its south, Turkey is continuing to provide relief and security to millions of refugees. It is also a guiding light of hope for many more millions who desire a strong and stable government. The efficient and fast decision making mechanism that will replace the current confusing one through the introduction of the presidential system is a much-needed and necessary prerequisite for a successful fight against the Daesh and PKK terrorist groups.
Turkey is actively engaged in several missions to end violence and bloodshed across the region. Turkey's stability is the region's stability.
The political system erected on the foundations of the 1980 military coup is aimed at enshrining military tutelage over every portion of the society to the detriment of public will and political mediation. The judiciary and military weighed down on every instance of free will by the public.
Reforms of the past five years removed the asymmetric supremacy of the military and instituted active civil oversight of the armed forces. However, the foundations on which the state structure is built upon, especially due to the limited power the Constitution bequests to legislative and executive branches, political stability remains engrained.
The recent constitutional reform bill will facilitate the preservation of the political stability established after the failed July 15 military coup attempt while making certain that state institutions that used to hover over the public will like a pendulum are under complete civilian oversight.
The bill will strengthen the separation of powers and hand an effective and accelerated mode of decision making mechanism to the Parliament and the presidency.
This reform bill was passed by Parliament thanks to the support of opposition MHP, while detailed public discussions took place among the public.
With a more stable political system where the elected president oversees the governing of the country while Parliament executes its power to inspect and supervise will allow better stewardship of the country's economy.
Better governance and a stable Turkey will be felt by both the citizenry and the wider region.
That's why Daily Sabah supports the constitutional reform and the presidential system it introduced. And it calls on all voters to do the same.