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December 24, 2012, Monday

Lack of proper opposition

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again made some controversial remarks which were a topic of hot debate among columnists and politicians for a week.

He complained that the separation of powers holds the government back in its efforts to better service the country. Though he has been highly criticized for his remarks, accused of working to become a “one man power,” members of Erdoğan’s government have said the prime minister’s remarks were misunderstood and that he is unhappy with the malfunctioning of the separation of powers.

Sabah’s Hasan Bülent Kahraman says Turkey has already discussed the principle of separation of powers several times in the past and that we have seen it doesn’t solve anything. However, as for Erdoğan making such a complaint about the principle of separation of powers, Kahraman argues that what is really happening is merely the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) being its own opposition. The AK Party faces a problem of the lack of a proper opposition party. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) would be a better functioning opposition party if it were a more leftist party. And the country’s Kurds could be a better opposition group and an opportunity for our democracy to improve, but the Kurdish segment of society is squandering this opportunity. Under these circumstances, the AK Party has to function as its own opposition and express its criticism about the political system, Kahraman asserts. And the remark by Erdoğan was “the voice of the opposition spirit within the ruling party,” he further says.

Mustafa Karaalioğlu from the Star daily also thinks that Erdoğan wishes that there was a powerful opposition party that would raise the bar of change and democracy in the country. And the prime minister often expresses this wish. Then why is it always the AK Party or Erdoğan who constantly delivers such controversial remarks that dominate the political agenda, and why do opposition parties like the CHP or opposing media outlets never try to dominate the agenda with other topics? Karaalioğlu explains that it is because change is the basic dynamic of producing agenda-setting matters and because both the media and the opposition parties are so afraid of any change that they never try to make any big move that will dominate the political agenda.

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