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Friday, March 23, 2018

What surprises can we expect from Turkey

The recent history of relations between Russia and Turkey, until the end of last year, can be described as the Golden era of bilateral cooperation. Build as still recently it seemed, on a strong Foundation of mutual economic interests, their highest point they reached at the end of 2014, when the President of Russia has offered Turkey the joint construction of the gas pipeline “Turkish stream”.

From time to time the practice has confirmed the conventional theory that in the modern world economy can smooth out political angles and contradictions. Turkey repeatedly demonstrated the ability to successfully balance between the US and the EU on the one hand and Russia on the other. However, on 24 November 2015 it became a black date in the calendar of bilateral relations, and simultaneously threw them not just back, but at an all-time low of absolute zero.

Since in Turkish-Russian relations continued period of stagnation. Political dialogue is interrupted, if it is not to understand the mutual attacks of varying degrees of sharpness, which from time to time exchanged between the parties. The business has wisely taken a wait and see position, waiting for the command from above. Against this background, quite simple are the attempts of certain activists on both sides to keep the ship received a hole below the waterline, afloat, since it is obvious that without the settlement of the Russo-Turkish conflict at the level of the first persons any efforts are doomed to become no closer to anything running on the spot.

However, instead of running forward at breakneck speed, trying to glue the broken Cup, perhaps it’s worth asking the question: not replaced if at some point our habit to “five-star” Turkey genuine familiarity with your neighbor? Do we understand which for a dozen years, is the modern Turkish Republic under the leadership of the ruling Party of justice and development, but if we are to speak exactly of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

photo: AP

Without a clear understanding of their counterparts the full restoration and long-term dialogue between our countries is impossible, even in a purely hypothetical situation of complete satisfaction of Russia on the list: “guilty”, “apology” and “compensation”. While in search of an answer I would not like to join in the chorus, where the emotion of the speakers on both sides are often veiled memory and common sense.

Throughout his political career, first as Prime Minister and then President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has positioned himself as a leader-reformer, on a scale not inferior to the founder of the Turkish Republic M. K. Ataturk. On formal occasions the flag with the profile of Ataturk invariably accompanies and is made in the size a portrait image of Erdogan. The first time it was located much lower, but year by year steadily rises to eventually be on a par.

Erdoğan has never concealed his Pro-Islamic and nationalist views, as well as the fact that the future he sees Turkey as a presidential, not a parliamentary Republic.

May 2016 in this sense, becomes a turning point for Turkey. The resignation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his replacement with a close ally of Erdogan, Minister of transportation Binali Yildirim on the results held on may 22, the extraordinary Congress of the ruling party can only mean one thing. Erdogan switches the speed, and the country is sharply accelerated on the way to changing the form of government.

As expected, the presidential Republic “a La türk”, the head of state will cease to be a purely ceremonial figure. Will removed the requirement for its non-partisanship, that is about equidistance from all political movements. Ceasing to be an observer “above the fray”, the President will overshadow the Prime Minister would be the head of the Executive power, spending on a permanent basis the meetings of the government, is the Supreme commander not only in war but also in peacetime, as well as directly subordinate to itself the National intelligence organization.

They do not get tired to calm the citizens apologists the transition to a presidential form of government, the proposed model is not something revolutionary. And during its preparation in final form will be taken into account “international best practices” presidential republics, primarily the model of political system of the United States.

But let’s not forget that for Turkey, throughout its Republican history was walking on the path of development of the parliamentary democracy, such a transformation will be truly revolutionary.

In response, supporters of reform prepared counterarguments. The fact is that in 2014 the President of the Turkish Republic was not elected in the walls of the Majlis, and direct popular voting. The first in a series of “people’s presidents” was Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his status, as emphasized by all those same supporters turned out to be higher than that of the Prime Minister, nominated to his post by the majority party. Thus, it appears that launched a constitutional reform aimed at the elimination of dual power, and will strengthen the de jure fact that 2014 already has become the de facto.

But hardly it is possible to convince skeptics, who believe that “people’s President” with the support of the ruling party and in the absence of a strong opposition simply usurps the power, transforming the political system to fit their personal ambitions and status.

In fairness, we note that the status of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as high as any other politician in the country. Relying on the support of ordinary citizens, it is up to the present time has never lost a political battle. And there is no reason to believe that the battle that Erdogan leads for years for constitutional reform, he will eventually lose. On the contrary, the President has never been closer to victory. The rejection of a peace settlement with the Kurds, not only plunged the country into terrorist chaos. Another important outcome was the formation of the Majlis of the Alliance of the nationalist forces that provide the necessary votes for the submission to popular vote of constitutional amendments.

Having the habit to look several steps ahead in this regard, it should be perfectly legitimate question: what, in fact, Erdogan will do in a situation where his goal will be achieved? Not pampering the audience with details, Erdogan himself says that he, with the rank of superpresident, will be able to return the country to stability and to complete the reforms, which stalled because of the notorious dual power…

This is where the answers end and begin continuous questions. First and foremost, about what, in fact, the reforms in question? On political or economic? Assuming that and those, and others, we will receive just the same a bunch of new question marks.

As a parliamentary democracy until now, prevented the solution of the Kurdish problem? And what counts nationalist Alliance put in the forefront only power methods? The practice of such conflicts suggests that a large “stick” and must be accompanied by equal-sized “gingerbread”, and the reconciliation in the end still achieved at the negotiating table.

What to do with the economy of the Turkish Republic, almost exhausted the possibilities for further growth? How to attract foreign investors to the country with the red level terrorist threat? What to do with the increasing skepticism towards Turkey on the part of Western capital, which requires a democracy, freedom of speech and judicial independence? It is unlikely that the centralization of power will calm them…

How to roll with the self-destructive foreign policy in recent years, has created hotbeds of tension around the perimeter of the Turkish border and deprived the country of its main competitive advantages — the neutral status of the crossroads of civilization? How can you play back the situation in relations with Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and, most importantly, Russia? How to improve relations with Europe, which, though ready to cooperate with Turkey on refugees, but is a reluctant partner? And what about the United States, put Syria on the Kurds? The “Arab spring” in the eyes of the Kurdish gives way to “thaw”, directly threatening the territorial integrity of the Turkish Republic…

Leaving the post of Prime Minister the author of the notorious “Strategic depth” of Ahmet Davutoglu, of course, gives you the opportunity to write off many of his shortcomings and mistakes. But does not preclude questions, the answers to which will sooner or later have to give…

The biggest problem is that the only one who can do it is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, — give their answers only after you get sverhdorogoy and will have to use them. Until then hardly anyone with certainty can say what kind of Turkey we will see after the constitutional reform, which could take place this year…

The aggravation of relations with Turkey. Chronicle of events

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