Turkey’s New Presidential System: A Game Changer for Turkish Foreign Policy and Relations with the West

Over 60 million Turkish voters are expected to cast ballots in the presidential election, which pits incumbent President Tayyip Erdogan against Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, in addition to re-electing a parliament with less power.

On Sunday, May 14, Turkey will hold its presidential and legislative elections. The country is currently going through a political and economic crisis, which was made worse by the earthquake that occurred in February and affected the country’s southeast and southern border regions. Thanks to a broad opposition alliance led by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing the most difficult election campaign since he took office in 2003.

Hello, friends who are passionate about politics! Are you interested in learning more about how Turkey’s new presidential system will affect its foreign policy and ties with the West? If so, get ready to delve deeply into this fascinating subject!

The New Sheriff in Town: Turkey’s Presidential System

In July 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan officially transformed Turkey’s long-standing parliamentary system into a centralized presidential one. This move solidified his one-man rule at home and sent ripples throughout the international community, particularly among Turkey’s Western allies.

A Changing West: Challenges and Opportunities

The new presidential system in Turkey coincides with a significant transformation in the international order The West, once a beacon of liberal values, is facing challenges from rising populism and nationalism, both within and beyond its borders Additionally, emerging powers like China, Iran, and Russia are playing a more assertive role on the global stage.

The Impact on Turkish Foreign Policy

This confluence of factors has significant implications for Turkish foreign policy. The new presidential system, with its centralized power structure could lead to a more assertive and independent foreign policy, potentially straining relations with the West. However it also presents opportunities for transactional relationships and pragmatic engagement.

Navigating the New Landscape: Recommendations for the West

So, how should the West approach Turkey in this new era? Here are some recommendations:

  • Play the long game: Despite the current challenges, Turkey remains a valuable ally for the West. Engaging with Turkey within a framework of credible conditionality and focusing on realistic, pragmatic cooperation can help maintain a long-term partnership.
  • Mind the rhetoric: Negative discourse against the West in Turkey and against Islam and Turkey in the West is counterproductive. Leaders and policymakers on both sides should strive for a more respectful and constructive dialogue.
  • Prioritize values: The United States, under President Trump, has shown less interest in promoting democracy and human rights. It’s crucial for all branches of government, businesses, and civil society to keep these values at the forefront of the agenda in dealings with Turkey.
  • Rebuild trust: Appointing a U.S. ambassador to Turkey and reconsidering tariff increases on Turkish imports could be confidence-building measures.
  • Find common ground: Addressing the issue of Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles requires a pragmatic solution. Cancelling the purchase outright might not be feasible, but limiting their operationalization in a way that doesn’t jeopardize NATO security should be explored.
  • Fulfill promises: The EU should honor its pledge of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, as part of a broader effort to rebuild trust.
  • Deepen cooperation: Areas like counterterrorism, transportation, migration, and energy offer opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Turkey.
  • Modernize the customs union: Updating the EU-Turkey customs union can benefit both sides and promote “rules-based cooperation.”
  • Resolve the Cyprus issue: Making progress on the Cyprus issue is crucial, especially considering the unfair punishment Turkey and Turkish Cypriots face for supporting reunification.

The Road Ahead: A Complex Partnership

Turkey’s ties with the West are both challenged and benefited by the country’s new presidential system and the changing global order. The West can successfully navigate this complex partnership and carry on with engagement with Turkey in a way that is advantageous to both parties by taking a practical and values-based approach.

Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving situation!

A controversial third candidacy for Erdogan

The head of state, the president, is chosen for a five-year term through a two-round majority vote. He is assisted by a vice president. If no candidate exceeds 50% in the first round, the runoff will be held on May 28.

Revamped by Erdogan in 2017, the Constitution limits presidential office to two terms. After two elections in 2014 and 2018, the president of state and his supporters justified their bid for a third term by changing the fundamental laws and resetting the counters to zero. He then called the elections early, as they were initially scheduled for June.

According to the Constitution, a two-thirds majority of Parliament must approve the new election date in order to waive the two-term limit, which was not the case. Erdogan used his powers from the transition to a presidential system to affirm this by decree. His candidacy was approved by the High Electoral Council.

On Sunday, voting opens at 8:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm local time. The media will have access to information and statements released by the electoral commission one hour after polls close.

Erdogan’s goal: Staying in power

is turkey presidential or parliamentary

is turkey presidential or parliamentary

Erdogan is running for office in the Peoples Alliance, which is made up of the conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party) and the MHP (Nationalist Action Party). After serving as prime minister from 2003 to 2014, he was elected president of the Republic in 2014 and was reelected in 2018.

He is pushing the promises he made during his campaign to women and young people, emphasizing pension increases, housing construction, and lower energy costs, even though he still has the backing of his most ardent supporters and can count on the majority of votes. In addition, he’s stepping up his attacks, accusing his opponents of plotting with the “terrorists” of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), threatening to “destroy the family,” and branding them as “pro-LGBT”—a pet peeve of his. He also disparages their ties to the West and its “conspiracies. ” “.

Smaller parties such as the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Great Union Party (BBP), the Free Cause Party (also known as Sunni Kurdish Islamic, or Hüda Par), and the New Welfare Party (YRP) have joined Erdogan’s coalition for the legislative elections. On Thursday, the Konda Institute predicted that 43. 7% of voters intend to support the incumbent head of state. This estimate should be used cautiously because there is no standardized accounting method and the pollsters have close ties to political groups.

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections: 5 things to know


What form of government is used in Turkey?

The Government of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Hükûmeti) is the national government of Turkey. It is governed as a unitary state under a presidential representative democracy and a constitutional republic within a pluriform multi-party system.

When did Turkey switch to presidential?

However, constitutional amendments approved in the 2017 constitutional referendum abolished the office of prime minister, and vested the presidency with full executive powers, effective upon the 2018 general election.

Is Turkey a republic or a Monarchy?

It is a unitary presidential republic with a multi-party system. Turkey is a founding member of the OECD, G20, and Organization of Turkic States. With a geopolitically significant location, Turkey is a regional power and an early member of NATO.

When did Turkey become a democracy?

Although the multi-party period began in 1945, the election of the Democratic Party government in May 1950 marked the first victory by a non-CHP party. The government of Adnan Menderes (1950-1960) proved very popular at first, relaxing the restrictions on Islam and presiding over a booming economy.

Does Turkey have a parliamentary system?

Suffrage is universal for citizens 18 years of age and older. Turkey is a presidential representative democracy and a constitutional republic within a pluriform multi-party system, in which the president (the head of state and head of government ), parliament, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government.

How did Turkey change from a parliamentary to a presidential system?

Turkey transitioned from a parliamentary to a presidential system in July 2018, a month after Erdogan won the presidential election. The powers of the president were broadened after a 2017 referendum approving the change to an executive presidency. The post of prime minister was abolished and the president also became the head of government.

Does Turkey have a president?

However, constitutional amendments approved in the 2017 constitutional referendum abolished the office of prime minister, and vested the presidency with full executive powers, effective upon the 2018 general election. The president is directly elected by eligible Turkish voters for a five-year term.

How often are presidential and parliamentary elections held in Turkey?

Presidential and parliamentary elections are held on the same day every five years. There are three presidential candidates: Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AK Party), Kemal Kilicdaroglu (CHP), and Sinan Ogan (ATA). Any candidate who can secure more than half the presidential vote on May 14 will be the winner.

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