Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

Why have the Çankaya and Parliament election laws not been passed?

A constitutional change to elect the president by popular vote was adopted May 31, 2007, making Abdullah Gül the last president elected by Parliament to a seven-year term of office. Recently, the government and opposition parties have reached an agreement to limit Gül’s seven-year tenure to five. The governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, had previously insisted that his term should be seven years, but has now adopted a different approach: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “5+5” plan.

Although experts on the issue such as Burhan Kuzu, head of the Constitutional Commission, assert, “This is not legitimate,” a political decision has already been made. Sometimes it is quite easy to harmonize law with politics! But only if the government – I mean the Parliament majority, leader or leading figures – say, “Yes.” So, in line with this political decision, Gül will sit as president for five years and remain in Çankaya until 2012. If he is nominated again, Gül may run for a second five-year term.

The president of Turkey will be elected by “popular vote” in the 2012 elections. But how? Though Parliament made constitutional changes, it has not yet passed laws regulating presidential referendums. Although two years have passed since the amendment, no preparations for the relevant bill have been made. Another irregularity is that the same goes for parliamentary elections, because the five-year election term was reduced to four years by a constitutional change. And a new law regulating this is also necessary.

Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan himself said these two regulations are needed immediately. He insists that Parliament should pass two separate bills on these two critical issues. “We have to pass a law for the presidential election,” he said. “A law on how presidential elections will be held and how applications will be submitted is needed. Besides, we need another law to enact the four-year tenure for Parliament. And we should do this as soon as possible.”

The Parliament speaker seems eager because he is concerned that the Supreme Election Board, or YSK, will take the initiative if the required law is not enacted. If Parliament cannot adopt regulations, the YSK will get involved and its rules will be applied. What happens if YSK does not follow the political wishes? Will the tenures in Parliament and the Çankaya Presidential Residence be changed? It is less likely to say, “This doesn’t happen in Turkey.” So, is the governing party making a detailed calculation? Do they have different expectations? We will have a chance to see all these possibilities if the AKP does not take care of the said regulations by autumn.

Of crocodiles and Aborigines, Turks and Kurds

Deputy Sırrı Sakık of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, was our guest at the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review’s Parliament bureau. He said that everyone should do his or her share to stop the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.

“I learned something new yesterday and am very impressed. Crocodiles and Aborigines in Australia bathe in the same water, and crocodiles attack everyone but Aborigines. Experts searching for the reason figured out that these two species have gotten used to each other’s smell,” Sakık said tearfully. “Look, we Turks and Kurds have been living in this same land for a thousand years and taking baths in the same water. We are getting married with each other. We are crying during the same folk songs and laughing at the same jokes. Our sorrow and happiness are the same. Still we attack each other. I am having a hard time understanding this. We could not even be crocodiles.”

‘CHP protection zone’ demanded

Following the March 29 local elections, Erdoğan delivered a speech at a parliamentary group meeting where he talked about the AKP’s victory in the Akyazı elections. “We have gained over 11,000 votes here. The Republican People’s Party [or CHP] won only 139 votes,” he said. Some AKP officials watching Erdoğan on Parliament TV started to send the following text message to the AKP’s Sakarya Deputy Sefer Üstün: “You better take 139 CHP voters under protection. It seems that the CHP is becoming extinct in Akyazı… Declare a CHP protection zone over there…”

While Üstün was showing the message to his friend and laughing on one side, he was saying, “You bet these should be protected,” on the other.