Turkologist Ruben Melkonyan about the events going on in Turkey’s internal policy
“Erdoğan’s recent years’ policy is adventurous, and all this is shaped with the idea of dictatorship created around the cult of personality. Erdoğan is striving for absolute power. Getting to power and maintaining the power for many years, he has set a goal of forming a sultanate government,” says Turkologist Ruben Melkonyan to “Aravot.”
According to the Turkologist, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, aiming to implement his authoritarian aspirations and enhancing the institution of the president, is doing everything for it, even somehow changing the legal framework, “The presidential elections in Turkey were held first time directly, which means that the people have voted, and Erdoğan became the first president in the history whom the people but not the parliament voted the first time. Erdoğan seeks absolute monopoly power and does not tolerate the idea of having the second political figure,” says Mr. Melkonyan.
Regarding Davutoğlu’s possible competitor for Erdoğan, Ruben Melkonyan says, “Davutoğlu has a great intellectual background and enough experience and international recognition, and thanks to intellectual, Davutoglu also has a particular role in the political circles. True, he is not very experienced in public policy, but at least Davutoğlu can become a second political figure or a power center. Davutoğlu has also endowed the post of a prime minister, at the same time, he was the head of the ruling party. He had all the opportunities to turn all this to practical resources. Now, Erdoğan is doing the following steps: by eliminating Davutoglu, he, first of all, prevents any alternative to him and the emergence of the second political figure,” says Mr. Melkonyan and mentions one more step by Erdoğan to reinforce his position – by the Charter of the ruling party and generally by the laws in force in Turkey, the party leader has no right to be in the president of the country.
When Erdoğan became a president, he resigned from party membership. Now, Erdoğan is suggesting changing it, and his party members have already announced yesterday that they will come up with this initiative and will eliminate this obstacle. Of course, soon Davutoglu will also resign his post of a party leader, and I think that there will be a replacement until June when the legislative initiative will be held and Erdoğan will become the leader of the ruling party.”
As to what developments are followed after the resignation of the Prime Minister of Turkey, whether will be protests in Turkey against the ruling dictatorial regime, Mr. Melkonyan replies, “Erdoğan has long ago shaped a clear authoritarian power and any he is trying to stop any sign of protest. In particular, today, a criminal case has been filed against the leader of the main opposition party, the party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is the head of the Republican People’s Party. A criminal case has been filed against the journalists who have acted with different criticism, some of the journalists are already imprisoned while the other wing of the opposition – the “National Movement” party – more tends to Erdoğan’s steps, either to be neutral or to agree. A new persecution matures against our compatriot Garo Paylan but the ruling party has proposed a draft to eliminate the parliamentary immunity which was passed by the Parliament and I think that after the ratification of the law, many MPs of Kurdish political party, being deprived of party immunity, will be exposed to criminal liability.”
Mr. Melkonyan noted that the changes taking place in Turkey’s domestic politics would not cause serious changes in its external life. “Turkey’s authoritarian ambitions in the foreign policy may worry many others, but they will not go beyond the statements. One can speak of the West and Germany, which show that their allied relations with Turkey are more important than democracy,” said Mr. Melkonyan.
To our observation that on the other hand, Turkey voices accusations against the West and NATO regarding Syrian refugees and the growth of Russian influence in the Black Sea, Mr. Melkonyan replied, “This is an adopted policy of the Turkish provocation, which has been more aggravated during Erdoğan’s governance and gradually this provocation is evolving. Recent announcements regarding refugees and the amounts transferred from Europe are becoming more aggressive and show that authoritarian ambitions in Turkey also extend to Turkey’s foreign policy, and I can say that they make a success. The West, in addition to the criticizing statement, does not make any other specific moves.”