The president is dead, long live the new president

Article published on Sept. 10, 2007
community published
Article published on Sept. 10, 2007
It’s that simple, Abdullah Gul is the new president of Turkey and this time, the army just couldn’t do anything. Now this is a good sign of modernization and Europeanization if you want to call it in that way. Is he a nice guy or can he represent the country as a leader (well almost a symbolic one but a leader after all)? I doubt it.
The former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer had a modest and rather low profile image but he was respected and he played a great role if you think about the checks and balances in the country. He was some kind of a control mechanism over AKP and he did a pretty good job actually.

Standing in front of a legacy (Photo: AP) After Abdullah Gul’s election as the new President, AKP just took over every single crucial spot at the top of the country. They have the Parliament, they have the Presidency and they have the Government. What could you ask more than that?

Abdullah Gul’s presidency is the peak point for AKP and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. From now on the hard part of the job is beginning. They hailed and rejoiced their glory. Now it’s time to deal with huge problems. They gained more than 45 percent of the votes on the last elections. People did not give those votes just like that. They are expecting some crucial steps on severe issues. Cyprus, Kurdish issue, Iraq, EU, economic growth showing itself on people's everyday life and so on. Those things are just the beginning.

What about Cyprus

This overwhelming demand can prepare the end of AKP but they also may become the champions of the Turkish people. It’s all in their hands now they have the full control. They managed to pacify the military also (well not entirely but to some extend), the president won’t veto their proposals anymore.

In short, both the people and the EU are expecting some concrete work from now on. Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard. Newly elected president Abdullah Gul may become a puppet of Erdogan. In his whole political career Gul, avoided to make crucial decisions. He always let someone else to take that responsibility. He was one of the founders of the AKP and had a quite good chance to lead the party but he gave way to Erdogan. While he was the foreign minister, he let the military do the talking about the Northern Iraq and practically did nothing. Also he tried to keep his mouth shut about the Cyprus issue.

During the previous AKP government, the easy part of the negotiations started. Most of the talks were on technical issues. This time they just can’t avoid from the Cyprus issue. They have to deal with it in order to open new chapters and this will put AKP between the people and the EU. Because if they accept to open the Turkish ports to the Cypriot ships and planes, in most people’s eyes that would be a concession. Getting out from that difficult situation won’t be easy at all.

We can let them rejoice their glory for now but they better start working because there are plenty of things to deal with. 2008 will be a hell of a year for Turkey.Can he reach to the top?