Constitutional changes will preoccupy the agenda in the days to come. However, President Abdullah Gül and Parliament’s term in office is already being discussed.
President Gül’s seven-year term may need court decision
Following the constitutional amendment approved as a result of a popular vote recently, the term in office was reduced from seven years to five. Gül was elected for only a period of seven-years in accordance with the previous constitution. Current supreme text includes the statement that a president is elected twice for five-year periods. Will Gül remain in office for five or seven years? This will be the topic of discussions in the upcoming days.
The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, wants to put an end to this discussion by going for a change in the Constitution. A seven-year term for Gül is gradually gaining supporters in the AKP because of political calculations. The issue was laid on the table during the party’s Central Executive Board, or MYK, meeting. MYK members voiced the following concern:
"President Gül was elected for seven years. If it is reduced to five, this would set a precedent. If another party ends the AKP period and has the majority to change the Constitution, they could reduce the period to five years and may attempt to remove Gül from presidential office."
In the light of this concern, the AKP is now looking for a solution to the issue. A possible solution is solving the problem with a temporary article while discussing constitutional changes.
The AKP Group Acting Chair Nihat Ergün says, "Extending the period to 10 years is impossible and likewise it should be impossible to reduce it to five years because a government party in the future having parliamentary majority may reduce this period to two years or block the re-election of the president." Ergün notes if Parliament doesn’t solve this problem, it could go to court and means "Parliament is weak."
Man asks President Obama for $2,000
U.S. Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey met this week deputies of the AKP, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP. DTP Muş deputy Sırrı Sakık shared an interesting story of his own to express people’s high hopes about U.S. President Barack Obama: "When Obama was to meet [DTP leader] Ahmet Türk, a man from Batman called me and said, ’An American company owes me $2,000. Let Mr. Türk tell Obama this because I want my money.’ As you see, even a man in Batman expects something from Obama."
Minister’s team worried
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay made same controversial remarks about the Ergenekon crime gang case recently. Günay, referring to Association for Supporting Contemporary Living, or ÇYDD, President Türkan Saylan, said, "Poor woman. They could’ve overlooked her. É"
Everyone was surprised by the minister’s remarks. I learned afterwards that Günay’s own team was disturbed by his statement. Four AKP deputies are close to him. And the upcoming days they will come together with Günay to express their concerns. We’ll see how Günay’s attitude will change following this meeting.