New Turkey faces big changes

Photo: New Turkey faces big changes / Politics

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 11
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

As expected, preliminary results of the Turkish presidential elections are in, and acting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes the 12th president of the modern Turkish republic. He won 51.8 percent of the votes.

Since the day when the list of presidential candidates was rendered public, it was clear that this was going to be a two-way race between acting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and single candidate of the Nationalist Movement Party and the Republican People's Party of Turkey, former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Later, 10 Turkish political parties voiced support for Ihsanoglu's camdidacy.

The representatives of 12 political parties and supporters of Fethullah Gulen intended to vote for Ihsanoglu. This testified to the fact that OIC former head is Erdogan's serious opponent.

However, as opposed to the prime minister, Ihsanoglu did not take into account the realities of Turkey during the election campaign and as a result made some political mistakes.

In particular, he has made statements about the Muslim headwear,and made some comments about Palestine and Syria.

He said that wearign the tradi Islamic headwear is a tradition, rather than the norm in Islam. Moreover, Ihsanoglu said that Ankara must remain neutral on the Palestinian issue. OIC former head also said that "Turkey acted hastily in the Syria issue."

It seemed as though Ihsanoglu had done everything possible during the election campaign so as not to be elected president.

Besides winning the election Erdogan's greatest success, is that the opposition put forward an Islamist candidate against him. This stresses the point that the Islamic factor is still strong in Turkey and the opposition utilized this.

Erdogan's success and "neo-Ottomanism" strengthening

The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and Muslim Brotherhood's coming to power in Egypt has been regarded by many people as new appearance of political Islam in the Arab Islamic world.

The overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood from power became a major blow to political Islam.

Although it was expected that liberal views will replace political Islam, religious radicalism and the military regime filled the vacuum. Nevertheless, the political failure of the Muslim Brotherhood should not be understood as the collapse of the organization itself.

The overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood strengthened Turkey's role in the region under the leadership of Erdogan who is an unconventional Islamist.

Therefore, Erdogan's victory in the presidential election will have impact not only on Turkey but the whole Islamic world.

So, the political fiasco of the Muslim Brotherhood gives ground to say that there is no alternative to Turkey's neo-Ottomanism idea in the region.

Turkey's post-election priorities

The term of office of Turkey's acting President Abdullah Gul will end Aug.28 and will be followed by Erdogan's five-year term of office. The overview of the political chronology of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) shows that although the party has prominent members, namely Erdogan is the driving force of this party. Many supporters of AKP do not imagine this political organization without Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After the election of Erdogan as president, Turkey's ruling party may face the risk of losing its leader and the country may lose its prime minister. Because under the country's constitution, not the president, but the prime minister is responsible for the processes taking place in the country and any mistake of the ruling party may cause difficulties for Erdogan.

Therefore, Turkey is expected to hold a referendum before the parliamentary election in July 2015 in order to change the constitution.

Erdogan previously said if he is elected president, the adoption of a new constitution in the country will be inevitable.

Erdogan reviewed the possibility of restricting the powers of the Constitutional Court and deprive it of the right to cancel the decisions of the parliament and head of state.

At the same time, it is planned to carry out structural changes in Turkey's law-enforcement agencies and the country's National Intelligence Agency and to continue the economic reforms that started in 2002.

Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Arabic News Service

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