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Recep Tayyip Erdogan to become Turkish President?

With Recep Tayyip Erdogan nearing the end of his third term as Prime Minister, and with laws in Turkey meaning that Turkish Prime Minister’s can only run for three terms in a row, speculation is now beginning to circulate that Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul could swap positions in an unprecedented move designed to continue economic stability in Turkey

During a meeting last week with his Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan reportedly discussed the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey – which will see the first Turkish president set to be elected by the public rather than by parliament, as was the system before and could well end up being Erdogan himself should he decide to run for candidacy.   

Erdogan and Gul


Erdogan is coming to the end of his third term as Prime Minister, a time that has seen the Turkish economy grow and investment pour into the nation to sit atop some of the worlds most powerful economies in a time when countries around the world are biting the bullet of the economic crisis. Erdogan and the AK Party are credited with reforms and amendments that have thrust Turkey’s progress over the last 10 years
 
What is the Turkish presidential post today?
Nowadays, the post of the Turkish president is largely a ceremonial post – a figurehead with little say in current affairs and issues relating to Turkish politics, today that man is Abdullah Gul – an ally of Erdogan and one who has been lamented with helping form the Turkish government and AK Party with Erdogan originally. 

Gul has recently came out to stress that no decision has been made on whether he himself would run for Prime Minister in Turkey. If Gul decides not to stand, then it is likely that another ally of Erdogan will stand. 

While today the Turkish president is a ceremonial post, if Erdogan has his way, that will not always be the case. 
 
A future president? What does Erdogan want to change? 
If Erdogan was to run for president and win, he has already stated that he will use the absolute limit of his powers in this role. However, Erdogan is trying to change the role of Turkish president from a ceremonial role, to a more hands on role with more power.

Erdogan’s reasoning for this is that because the president will now be elected by the public rather than by parliament, the president should have more power to represent the people that elected said president. In 2007 when Turkey formally changed the way in which a president was elected, there was no mention of any change of power given to the president, so this is a new change that Erdogan is trying to bring about in order to ensure his continued influence in Turkish current affairs. 

According to Erdogan, the 1982 constitution would allow a popularly elected president to exercise executive powers in amendments still in the constitution. 

However, slightly different changes that the AKP want to implement will require a change of the constitution and they can’t do that alone – they will need the support of the other parties in parliament and that could prove to be a stumbling block for Erdogan’s plans. 

Turkish elections
When are the presidential elections?
Elections are set to take place on August 10, with Erdogan and Gul both remaining tight-lipped at the moment regarding speculation, it is becoming ever more likely that we just might see a swap of position come elections and a shift of power between Prime Minister and Presidential roles and powers.

Of course, like most elections, nothing is guaranteed. 
 
What will happen if Erdogan is elected president? 
If Erdogan runs for president, and if he wins the election, chances are that an ally, whether or not that is Gul, will be elected as prime minister of Turkey. Having an ally of Erdogan as prime minister, and having Erdogan as president ensures that Erdogan has a say in Turkish matters and affairs. The likely rule of this being that after his term as president is over, Erdogan could then run again for prime minister, and vice versa.

In short, Erdogan is looking to safe keep himself and the AK Party’s role in Turkish government. After serving his time as president, Erdogan could then run again for the role of prime minister. 
 
What affect will this have on the Turkish economy? 
By and large, not much at all. Erdogan is credited with helping drag the Turkish economy to the forefront of nations around the globe, with Turkey being second in recent years only to China in terms of economic growth and prospects. The continued influence of Erdogan and the AK Party at the top of Turkey’s current affairs will go a long way to ensuring that Turkey continues to vote for prosperity

So, it seems more than likely that we will see Erdogan as president of Turkey in the future, however, whether we see the powerful Erdogan that he wants or the ceremonial president with little power, remains to be seen. 

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