‘There Is Still A Long Way To Go In Terms Of Bureaucracy To Adapt To This System.’
AK Party Human Rights Vice Chairperson and Member of Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) Murat Çiçek noted that the Presidential Government System is a dynamic system that finds the means to the crises of Turkey's political history, however that there is still a long way to go in terms of the institutions and organizations to settle.
If the Presidential Government System changes in Turkey, what features of the current system would need to be preserved or to be changed?
The current Presidential Government System in Turkey is actually a very new system that had passed through the filter of the society after all the crises, coups, post-coup administrations, coalition administrations and many problems in our political history throughout the history of the Republic. It is a dynamic system that finds the means to the crises of Turkey’s political history and ensures the political stability and the state’s continuance of Turkey. There is still a long way to go in terms of the state bureaucracy to adapt to this system and for the institutions and organizations to settle.
However, although the opposition parties promise to change this system, we know very well from our political experience that no matter who or what party would be in power tomorrow, they would want to benefit from the discernment of this system based on quick decision making and stability.
Therefore a change in the Presidential Government System is out of the question in Turkey. In this recent pandemic we’ve all clearly experienced the benefits of the system and of its speed in decision-making processes and especially the benefits it provides due to the principle of stability in management.
The Presidential Government System claimed that it would make the governance in Turkey more effective and would clear up the unwieldness of the system. Do you think this claim has come true?
It is clear that the Presidential Government System constitutes the principle of stability in the governance in terms of Turkish political history tradition. Thanks to the stable administration, Turkey has benefited greatly from the Presidential Government System especially in our world where global economic crises, pandemics and epidemics are experienced. Quick decision-making mechanisms worked well within the Presidential Government System, however, the existence of some problems arising from the traditional bureaucratic understanding of Turkey became the subject of discussion. This is discussed both by our intellectuals and by our politicians.
The problem is, when you bring a new system in, it is very important that that system is compatible with the constitution. 1982 Constitution Act had been amended many times, but we still cannot get the efficiency we desire. What needs to be done here is this: An egalitarian, libertarian and democratic constitution that would comply with the stability of the Presidential Government System in the governance as well as with the speed of the decision-making processes and a constitution that would embrace whole Turkey.
When you prepare a constitution in a fundamentally liberal, democratic and pluralistic way, you have the chance to make your constitutional institutions adapt to it accordingly.
With a new constitution, in a Turkey where constitutional institutions would adopt a democratic and pluralistic structure, and when this, combines with the stability and quick decision-making processes of the governance of the Presidential Government System, Turkey would begin to see the benefits of a much more efficient and a much more advanced system.
What kind of an approach or mechanism is needed for the effective participation of civil society in local governments? What roles do civil society and local governments have in this regard?
Civil society may have serious roles within local governments. Especially in the locals; such as the emergence of a common mind of the city and talking about the problems of that city. In decision-making processes, it is important for civil society to share the data it receives from the field with the city administration in a healthy way and to be open to consultation. When civil society public platforms such as city councils are established locally, beneficial works can emerge for the future of the locals. Local governments are very important models in terms of civil society and public authority relations.
City Councils in Turkey that are based on international conventions and that are also mentioned in our country’s domestic legislation involve civil society organizations and also the public and they are structures in which public-civil society relations are carried out together, where all the problems of the city or the region are discussed and where some suggestion decisions are taken. We have witnessed that many of the problems of the local governments are solved through civil society and public relations and through the structures embodied in the city councils, especially when the City Councils are fed by the locals as well as their problems and when those problems are brought to the agenda of the city in a healthy way.
Therefore we know that civil society can have very important functions in locals through lobbies that encourage and guide the local-public authority to make positive decisions.
How would an effective civil society-politics dialogue occur?
In Turkey, the relations between political parties and civil society, in other words, relations between political power and civil society or relations between the state and civil society have been constantly discussed. The equation here is actually very simple. We can see the benefits when each institution, whether the state, political power, political parties or non-governmental organizations, when each carries out its own natural function, the relations between these social institutions are carried out on a healthy basis.
Civil society in Turkey needs to become independent, non-hierarchical organizations that guide political parties in the right way. This is one of the most important elements.
Civil society is oppositional by its nature. It guides and criticizes the government and political parties, and has a guiding function in solving the problems arising from society in a positive sense.
When civil society organizations conduct an argumentative and guiding opposition instead of just dissent and take such an oppositional stance, they can make very serious contributions to both political parties and to the political power. But when a civil society organization takes a stand against the political parties or the political power or the state in ideological and completely opposing positions, it deviates from its aim and turns into something else.