29 December 2018 21:33

Gripped with fear, the AKP-MHP alliance is heedless of the mere Constitution!

Bahçeli, Erdoğan and Yıldırım’s fears, on both the national scale and in İstanbul, about the local election appear not to be without foundation.

Gripped with fear, the AKP-MHP alliance is heedless of the mere Constitution!

Photograph: AA

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President Tayyip Erdoğan announced the AKP and MHP’s İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty candidate today. Their candidate is Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yıldırım!

The first question this invites is, “Can no metropolitan mayoral candidate for İstanbul be found among fifteen million İstanbulites, such that Binali Yıldırım, former Prime Minister and AKP General Chair and currently Parliamentary Speaker, is being fielded as İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty candidate?” Yıldırım is for sure no stranger to contesting a mayoralty. In the last local elections, Yıldırım was made Metropolitan Mayoralty candidate for İzmir and he is a someone who lost the election despite having all the state’s power behind him.

There is in fact at the same time something innately debilitating about a party that has held the İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty for a quarter of a century bringing in candidates from other provinces to contest the election in an important local election constituency like İstanbul.

BOTH PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER AND ISTANBUL METROPOLITAN MAYORALTY CANDIDATE!

But, in the end, these are the AKP’s problems. In this regard, both Evrensel readers and public opinion know that there are answers to the AKP’s internal problems that came to light during the debate about “metal fatigue” which entail intensifying the wrangling over shares in the proceeds of a graft.

It was not this aspect of the problem that I wanted to discuss today. It was Yıldırım continuing to serve as Parliamentary Speaker following the announcement of his candidacy.

Legal experts have been debating this matter ever since Binali Yıldırım’s İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoral candidacy was mooted.

Constitutional experts, citing the explicit provision (*) of the Constitution that forbids the Parliamentary Speaker and Vice-Speakers from engaging in political parties’ public activities, indicate that Yıldırım must stand down as Parliamentary Speaker to become İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty candidate.

However, Bahçeli was the first to say that Yıldırım can stand in the elections both as Parliamentary Speaker and “Istanbul Metropolitan Mayoral candidate of the AKP-MHP alliance.” Now President Erdoğan, too, has adopted Bahçeli’s thesis. And he says, “Just as MPs can be mayoral candidates and return to being MPs if unelected, the Parliamentary Speaker can stand in the local election while continuing as speaker.” Of course, in heedlessness of the relevant provision of the Constitution and thundering that what Yıldırım needs to do is stand down as Speaker and not as a member of parliament!

THE WISHES OF THE “SINGLE MAN” ARE ALSO SUPERIOR TO THE CONSTITUTION!

The important question that begs itself here is why Binali Yıldırım is being entered into the election both as Parliamentary Speaker and İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoral candidate.

Of course, legal experts will the debate the constitutional violation aspect of the issue and, as such, the degree to which such an election is legal and legitimate. However, I will dwell on its political significance here.

If the Erdoğan administration and the AKP-MHP alliance underpinning it says it will both retain Yıldırım as Parliamentary Speaker and field him as İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoral candidate, this is tantamount to them saying “We are blatantly violating the Constitution and are heedless of this. Our interests have become equated with the country’s interests because we are an alliance that formed for the “country’s survival.” So, if the country’s survival is at issue, non-compliance with the Constitution is a mere trifle!”

What this corresponds to in regime change terms is rooted in the notion that, just as the “single-man regime” is the concentration in a single hand of legislative, executive and judicial powers, no decisions of the “single man” are to be questioned, either, and must be deemed superior to the written constitution and statute.

OR IS YILDIRIM THINKING ABOUT HIS OWN FUTURE?

Even if not as blatant as non-recognition of the Constitution, I also perceive the presence of a reason that the AKP-MHP alliance is not coming public with. And this is the tacit consent by Erdoğan and Bahçeli that winning the İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoralty is not “in the bag” for the AKP-MHP alliance or, indeed, the chance of losing is stronger. And, thus, Yıldırım is also being given the guarantee that if he doesn’t win Istanbul he will retain his post in parliament.

Who knows, perhaps Binali Yıldırım insisted on such a condition to guarantee his return realizing that you may seek and not find! And, the continued delay in announcing his candidacy adds weight to the possibility that the factional squabbling spilling out of the AKP nowadays and public discussion of some even pretty crazy possibilities have imposed this condition on “man of duty” Yıldırım.

Bahçeli, Erdoğan and Yıldırım’s fears, on both the national scale and in İstanbul, about the local election appear not to be without foundation.

(*) Article 94 of the Constitution: “The Speaker and vice-speakers of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey cannot participate, within or outside the Assembly, in the activities

of the political party or party group in which they are a member; nor in parliamentary debates, except in cases required by their functions.”

(Translated by Tim Drayton)