Turkey: “Erdogan carries the drum, Bahçeli plays it”

President Erdoğan carries the drum, but his nationalist election ally Bahçeli has the drumstick, Turkish opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu says.

Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılılçdaroğlu said that President Tayyip Erdoğan is under the tutelage of his election ally Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) because he cannot make any decisions without Bahçeli’s approval. Answering the questions of YetkinReport on current political matters, Kılıçdaroğlu said that Erdoğan carries the drum, but the drumstick is in the hands of Bahçeli who plays it.
Claiming that not only the [Presidential] Palace but also the Parliament is under the tutelage of “minority party that received only 11,9 percent of the votes” in the last elections, Kılıçdaroğlu said this situation has been damaging the democracy in Turkey.
Here are the strong remarks of Kılıçdaroğlu against Erdoğan about the power relations in Turkey:
• “The Presidential Government System is struggling along to continue its path under the tutelage of a small party. As of now, the Palace [Presidency – my] became unable to decide without permission from this minor party. President Erdoğan announces all of his decisions after getting approval and also the consent of the MHP leader Bahçeli.
• “Bahçeli says this publicly anyway, as if no decision can be taken without his permission. Bahçeli almost threatens Erdogan to go to early elections.”

The domination of a minor party

“This is not only the case in the Palace, but also in the Parliament. The Justice and Development Party (Ak Parti) cannot make any decision without the approval of MHP. A decision without MHP approval and permission does not come to the Assembly anyway. That means that both the Palace and the Parliament is under the domination of a small party. We observe the same tutelage not only in the Palace and the Turkish Grand National Assembly, but also in the bureaucracy.
• “MHP has received 11.9 percent of the votes in the 2018 election. Currently, Turkey is run by de facto tutelage of a party which received 11.9 percent of votes, a minority party. This picture causes deep cracks and damages in our democracy. The “Presidential Government System”, which we call the freak system, stands before us as a system that creates problems in every field. This system made the government enchained to a party with 11.9 percent of the vote, MHP, and its leader, Bahçeli.

The drum and the drumstick

“Erdogan bows this tutelage to protect his power. Because Erdogan knows best the cost of going out of government. We also know, how the two of them look for the help of İmralı (*) in local elections at the expense of maintaining this tutelage and unity of interest.
• “In summary, Erdogan is carrying the drum, but Bahçeli is holding the drumstick; he is the one who is playing the drum.
“But our people are aware of what’s going on. What is more important is that our people have been leaning for democracy each passing day, knowing that such tutelage is not good for Turkey’s democracy.”

(*) İmralı is the island prison south of İstanbul where Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is serving his prison for life.


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