9 January 2014
At a time when some Western observers suggested that the rule of law is the most significant casualty of the ongoing political turmoil in Turkey, the country’s president has drawn attention to the utmost need for checks and balances within a democracy.
“The foundation of the legitimacy passes through democracy today,” President Abdullah Gül said yesterday as he was addressing military students during a visit to the Turkish Military Academy.
His remarks were made in the context of the dependency of regional and global peace upon the formation of legitimate rules in each country.
“What we call democracy is actually national will. If we expand this a little bit more, it is foundation of democratic states governed by the rule of law,” Gül said. “When we say democratic states governed by the rule of law; it is to say a multi-party system, fair, free and proper elections; everybody’s having clear authorities and responsibilities and having the balance systems which we call ‘checks-balances’ within this system, and governing of these [systems] in an harmony.”
Turkey is passing through a major political crisis during which a public fight between the government and the followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has raised questions about the effectiveness of the separation of powers in the country.
Later in the day, Gül hosted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Deniz Baykal at the presidential Çankaya Palace. Baykal, former leader of the CHP, last week met with Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek too in order to express his concerns over what he called “a constitutional deadlock.”
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Gül, Baykal didn’t seem relieved at all as he said: “It is being understood that the troubles we have been living will continue.”
Baykal, however, also said that he still maintained that this crisis was not a “natural” one.
“A clash is taking place between the powers which should have been working in harmony,” said Baykal.