Erdoğan’s Advisor Gülnur Aybet Debunks The Economist’s ‘One-Man Rule In Turkey’ Allegations

In another piece targeting the President, The Economist claimed that the switch to presidential system in Turkey grants Erdoğan sweeping powers. His advisor Aybet disproved these allegations in an interview with CNN’s Amanpour

In a CNN International interview with Christiane Amanpour broadcast late Tuesday, one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s senior advisors, Gülnur Aybet slammed The Economist’s allegations of a “one-man rule and dictatorship in Turkey” in the wake of the April 16 referendum in Turkey which ended with victory for the ‘Yes’ vide, granting Turkey a switch to a presidential system from the current parliamentary one.

Reading an excerpt from the Economist article, Amanpour said “In practice, it enthrones the president as a term-limited sultan and parliament as his court,” adding “Kind of right, right? Because he gets what he wants now.”

“No, no, no,” Aybet replied. “Under the current system, the president has enormous powers and President Erdoğan hasn’t even used all of these powers. And, he has no accountability. Under the proposed system, he has accountability and the parliament can actually take the President to the Supreme Court. So it’s absolutely wrong to say that there are no checks and balances in the proposed system. Actually there are no checks and balances in the current system. It’s a bad reading of the proposed system,” she added.

“It is confusing the political reality in Turkey with the merits of the system. And the political reality of Turkey is this: and yes there has been a powerful party that’s been in power for a long time and there is a weak opposition,” she stated.

The Economist weekly has accused Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) many times and has even urged Turks to vote Kurd (“Why Turks should vote Kurd”) in an article. The Economist also openly urged Turkish voters to stand strong against ‘Sultan’ Erdoğan and vote against the AK Party in the November 1 general elections which concluded with victory for AK Party.

Regarding the recent report of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which alleges that the referendum process “fell short of international standards,” she said “I understand why people are confused about this and that Turkey is a difficult country to read. Well let’s just clarify a few things: I have a few issues about the OSCE report today. For example: They are taking very narrow examples and apply them to the bigger picture. They are saying things like ‘The legal framework is inadequate for a referendum in Turkey.’ Well are they saying all the past referendums in Turkey have been null and void?”

Regarding the arrests of journalists in Turkey, she said, “You’ve mentioned the freedom of press. Well, yes there have been issues with some aspects of the press which were part of the Gülen movement which attempted to carry out a coup. So any clamping down on the media has got to do with Turkey’s current fight against terrorism.”