‘The deputies exercised their free will’, said Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday. He said it after one of the most important constitutional reforms (about making it more difficult to close political parties) was not adopted by parliament. The reform needed 330 votes to be part of a referendum package later this year, but it got only 327 votes. Since Erdogan’s governing AKP has 335 seats in parliament, it means that more AKP MP’s than ever rejected the party line.
It must be shocking for Erdogan to find out that there is opposition against him in his own party. And frustrating that he doesn’t know who exactly voted against this reform: votes on constitutional change are secret. If he knew who they were, I think there would be a good chance that they would be slowly – or even summarily – banished from the party. Because party democracy is totally unknown here, not only in the AKP but also in other parties, the will of the leader, be it Erdogan, Baykal (CHP) or Bahceli (MHP), is law. He (there are no she’s) decides, he speaks, he rules. I wonder how many MP’s from the CHP voted against the party line and in favour of several constitutional changes this and last week. If there are actually such CHP MP’s and Baykal found out about it, what would he do?
I bet Erdogan’s teeth were grinding when he said that his MP’s exercised their free will. He has a long way to go before the democracy he claims to love so much also clearly rules his own party.