Turkey’s Parliament Could Be Counterweight to Presidency, New CAP Issue Brief Says

Washington, D.C. — A referendum approved by Turkish voters in April gives sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or whoever wins the next election, but it may leave some room for meaningful parliamentary action, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

The new system will bring parallel elections for a newly powerful presidency alongside established parliamentary elections. This creates the possibility that Turkish voters may split their votes, opting to support Erdoğan for president, for example, but not vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament, the issue brief says.

“Voters may find this split-ballot approach an effective way to impose the checks and balances of which the system is otherwise bereft,” said Alan Makovsky, author of the report and a senior fellow for National Security and International Policy at CAP. “This presents a potential opportunity for a center-right party that could appeal to nonhardcore Erdoğan voters. Of course, this scenario presumes a free and fair election.”

If, however, a re-elected President Erdoğan presides over an AKP majority, as most now expect, Parliament is likely to be as thoroughly dominated by Erdoğan as all of Turkey’s other institutions now appear likely to be, the issue brief says.

Read the issue brief: “Turkey’s Parliament: An Unlikely but Possible Counterweight to New Presidency” by Alan Makovsky

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at 202-478-6327 or shananel@americanprogress.org.