The Presidential Government System is fashioning its own tradition.
Those who cannot get the required parliamentary votes, are looking to secure them through public. In the old system, political parties would put forth their candidates, then we would look at the number of their MPs with an ear on what the military thought. Nowadays, we look at what the nation thinks.
The manifesto accentuated by President Erdogan is another step towards the new era. I must state that, Erdogan will also make an electoral declaration soon. While the manifesto focused on the spirit of the new era, the declaration will zero on in how to achieve their goals.
Since Erdogan has a manifesto out that reflects his vision of the office of Presidency, we are expecting similar moves from Meral Aksener, Muharrem Ince, Selahattin Demirtas and Temel Karamollaoglu. Erdogan already has 16 years of public service and standing under his belt, it is the others whom we need to hear more from about their visions of Turkey and the world.
When we look at Erdogan’s manifesto, it is almost like a pact done with the nation before he embarks on a new era. One can say, he chose to form a pact with the nation rather than the power elites. Just as he transformed Turkey from a place dominated by the military to a country where the nation is the one and only subject, he chose to bond a pact with that very nation. His vision can be capsuled into his promise that “in the new era, Turkey will rise above the level of contemporary civilization.” Ozal, in his first speech after being elected as the president had announced the three main freedoms he would protect: “free speech, freedom of thought and religion, and freedom for enterprise.” These are historical statements.
The Three Principles
When AKP first started, it was a movement of the virtuous. After 16 years at the helm, Erdogan added a few merits. He called them “virtue, will and courage”. That still stands as the pillar of his 16 years of leadership. Rather than worrying about what the powerful elites would say, he only cared about what the truth and justice, which made him virtuous. Rather than keeping quiet, cringing and hiding, he chose to stand up and show his will. And just like he did on July 15, he marched courageously in the face of death. These were perhaps the root of his success. Or in other words, they were what mad Erdogan who he is.
The President also mentioned three periods of the Republic of Turkey: Foundation, Resurrection, and Rearing Up. As the Erdogan of Resurrection, he asked that he heads the Rearing Up period.
His points about national security and war against terrorism were well balanced. His mentions of EU candidacy, extended freedoms and justice were well placed. It was surprising though, that he did not dwell unto topics concerning the Kurds and the Allawi. I guess that was fitting with the spirit of the republican alliance.
Whenever President Erdogan speaks at a political rally, he reminds the crow of the 4 principles that has come to be known as Rabia: One nation, one flag, one motherland, one state. In addition to this, Erdogan also swore an oath: “We swear that we won’t back down we swear that we won’t abandon our mission, we swear we won’t harm our brotherhood.” I advise you to get ready to hear this oath throughout the election campaign.
He didn’t criticize the opposition
President Erdogan is known for his heavy blows towards the opposition during his rallies. He doesn’t give any of the opposition leaders a free pass, so to speak. However, we haven’t heard any criticism towards the opposition during the unveiling of the manifesto. Instead, he opted to spend the time detailing his vision. Of course, that doesn’t mean he will not press against the opposition in any of the upcoming rallies. But, he seemed to have started off his campaign on a positive note. Rather than tackling the opposition, he plans to talk about what he will do as the president.
It is a very welcoming change to see an election campaign standing on its own merits rather than smears.
The new era, when it arrives, will bring a new spirit with it.