Ahmet Davutoglu has just announced he will be stepping down from the office of Prime Minister of Turkey, following ‘new-found’ doubts over President Erdogan’s plan to democratically strengthen the Turkish presidency.
When Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped down from the office of Prime Minister and became President of Turkey, he had to appoint someone to take over the post of Prime Minister. As he took up the presidential role which he had secured through a direct mandate from the Turkish people, Erdogan laid bare his plan to democratically change the constitution in order to increase presidential powers .
As he took up the presidential role which he had secured through a direct mandate from the Turkish people, he laid bare his plan to democratically change the constitution in order to make the presidency more powerful.
Erdogan’s party, the AKP was in alignment with this programme. So when Erdogan chose party member Ahmet Davutoglu to become Prime Minister and leader of the AKP, Davutoglu knew that the bid to democratically change the constitution to enhance presidential powers was topmost on Erdogan’s priorities.
Indeed, he saw how Erdogan even dissolved the Turkish Parliament and called new parliamentary elections in other to get a clearer mandate from the Turkish people for the plan.
Davutoglu was indeed Prime Minister when the new parliamentary elections took place. So, why did he suddenly begin to oppose Erdogan’s plan of recent? Is it because he had tasted power as Prime Minister and therefore wanted to preserve the status quo?
Did he suddenly realise that he was in the wrong party? Davutoglu was wrong to have accepted the offer to become Prime Minister of Turkey, if he knew he had misgivings with the President’s political programme in the first place. It is almost like a betrayal.
There are 2 things Erdogan should do to avoid a repeat of this kind of hitch:
- He has to do more to assure his contemporaries that his bid for a stronger presidency is not a bid to institute a dictatorship – and such an assurance includes not being seen to persecute Davutoglu (it’s enough to learn the lessons and move on).
- He has to extract an initial public declaration of support for his programme from his next Prime Minister.
Failure to do these two things will put the whole project at risk.