Logo de Turquie Européenne
Home > Revue de presse > Archives 2008 > 04 - Articles d’avril 2008 > First reforms, then salvaging AKP

First reforms, then salvaging AKP

Friday 11 April 2008, by Yusuf Kanli

A six-hour-long meeting of the Party Executive of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ended late Monday evening with a rather wise decision, which can be best summarized as “finally common sense prevailed.” The question now is how sincere the AKP is and how long will it manage to walk down the roadmap Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the top brass of the ruling party decided on after such lengthy deliberations.

First of all, the decision demonstrated that the prime minister and his men have finally realized the need to return to the reform path before it can indeed indulge in some serious efforts to save the ruling party and the political life of the premier and some 70 other prominent members of political Islam in the country that together with AKP’s closure the chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeals demanded be banished from politics for five years.

Briefing reporters Monday night on the decision of the AKP Party Executive, the party’s Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat stressed that priority will be given to the so-called “10th reform package” the contents of which would be decided by the council of ministers.

After that package is legislated, then the time will come to amend Articles 68 and 69 of the Constitution and besides make it more difficult to close down parties – with a stipulation in conformity with the so-called “Venice Criteria” that as long as they were not involved in violence and such involvement was verified with court decisions political parties would not be closed down – the ongoing closure cases (two cases against the AKP as well as the case against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP) will be dropped with a provisional article. Thus, not only the AKP will be salvaged, but at the same time, the political future of Erdoğan, 70 other senior AKP people, as well as the DTP and Parliament membership of DTP deputies will all be saved.

Still, with or without the reform package being legislated, achieving such an amendment in the Constitution will be very problematic for the AKP. The ruling party must legislate such an amendment with the support of 367 deputies (two-third majority of Parliament) to evade a referendum. It may have difficulty in finding the required support from either the Republican People’s Party (CHP) or the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as long as the AKP’s formula to save itself and Erdoğan will help save the DTP as well.

Seeking consensus a must

Thus, besides discussing and finalizing the contents of the forthcoming so-called “tenth reform package” at the cabinet, the AKP needs to seek a consensus preferably with both but at least with either of these two parties as at the end of the day, when voting day comes on the “salvaging AKP constitutional amendments package” if – because of their objections to the salvaging of DTP together with the AKP – some 10 “nationalist” AKP deputies just don’t show up citing illness or something else, the entire package may go down the drain as the AKP would not have the required 330 vote (three-fifth majority) to legislate constitutional amendments subject to approval at a national referendum also.

The AKP started unveiling some hints what “reforms” might be in the pipeline with finally suggesting an amendment in the penal code’s contentious Article 301 that regulates penalties for insulting “Turkishness.” Though many people appreciated that the AKP finally started taking some action on that contentious article, it is no secret that not only the CHP and the MHP but scores of AKP deputies as well oppose improvements to be made to Article 301 along the demands of EU and Turkish intellectuals.

The new package, which apparently very wisely separated action on Article 301 by the AKP, must therefore include such reforms that at least either the CHP or MHP would not be able to publicly oppose. Like Erdoğan, neither CHP leader Deniz Baykal, nor MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli would perhaps want to see improvements, for example, in the laws on election (lowering the 10 percent national threshold for example) or on political parties (ending leaders’ powers to rule parties single handedly) but if such issues are discussed publicly, none of them might take the risk of resisting the strong popular push to see such changes made.

Now, we will have to wait and see whether the AKP will really engage itself in an effort to forge reconciliation with the opposition parties on the new reform package or soon we will witness some sort of the “We know what CHP will say, no need to waste time talking to them” antagonism once again.

Télécharger au format PDFTélécharger le texte de l'article au format PDF


Source : Wednesday, April 9, 2008 TDN

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow site activity RSS 2.0