You may look at the title and go “How is that possible?” It is possible if they feel that’s the only option.

They will, of course, try the 50% route first. If the surveys positively show that they have the votes, they will go ahead with a public vote. But if they realize they can’t get to 50%, we will see a sudden maneuver, and the presidential election will be carried out by the Parliament instead.

They will disguise this move under the pretext of a war environment and national unity. They have no other choice, they are aware of what will happen if they lose their majority. Let me repeat: don’t even think that they can’t do it. They can, and they would, and furthermore they dismiss ignore all objections saying it is perfectly legal.

You may argue that the sum of AKP and MHP Members of the Parliament does not make the majority needed for a Constitutional Amendment. True, but once they make offers to CHP and even HDP that they can’t refuse, they will swiftly reach the required numbers.

Inching Towards an All-Out War

Let’s step back and analyze the current situation in our region:

  • The US will not risk losing Turkey with her population of 80 million people just to appease the PKK.
  • There is a reason for the crown prince coup carried out in Saudi Arabia
  • It is no secret that Trump and Israel both intend to strike Iran at some point
  • The appointment of Mike Pompeo, a well known anti-Iran/anti-Turkey proponent, as the new Secretary of State is no coincidence.
  • Current maps of both Syria and Iraq are both highly unstable and are pointing towards a re-calibration.

In short, it is not far-fetched to presume that we will soon see the deserts of the Middle East ensanguined in blood once again. I hope Turkey can skillfully navigate these choppy waters.

What Happens if Erdogan is No Longer in the Picture?

There were seven of us at the table: three academicians, a former minister, a businessman, a former bureaucrat and myself. None of us had an Islamic and/or AKP background. Here’s a summary of what was said at that table:

  • Erdogan was forced to confide himself inside a nationalist discourse just to keep his power
  • The circle of trust between Erdogan and Washington is too broken to mend now
  • The outlook actually does favor Turkey
  • Erdogan, with 16 years of public service under his belt, has begun to recognize some hard facts
  • He realized that pan-Islamism in both Turkey and around the world amounts to little more than empty rhetoric
  • He understood that Arabs can never be trusted
  • He apprehended, after the betrayals he endured by his inner circle and certain Islamic sects around him, that Islam is not a cause, but merely a belief
  • Who could replace Erdogan and what s/he can achieve are big unknowns
  • We don’t know whether his replacements would submit to the EU and the US
  • There is a palpable anxiety that once Erdogan is out of the picture, FETO organization may regather its strength
  • There is also an equal amount of anxiety about the future of PKK in Erdogan’s absence
  • Thus, Erdogan who has already hit a political bottom, poses no more serious dangers to Turkey. His continuous presence and his experience from this point on, will only help Turkey

These were the points made by those at the table where I was mostly an observer. I am curious what my readers have to say.

Originally published in Turkish in https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/cumhurbaskani-ni-meclis-e-sectirecekler-sabahattin-onkibar-kose-yazilari-mart-2018