Concerns about the Turkish presidency’s power

On Sky News’s All Out Politics with Adam Boulton, 17 July 2017

Lots of people in Turkey are very uncomfortable, even within his own party, about how authoritarian President Erdoğan has become and how much power is being concentrated specifically around him rather than the institution of the presidency.


Michael appeared on Adam Boulton’s Monday morning politics show to discuss the state of Turkey one year after the failed coup attempt, the continuing implications for Turkish domestic politics and what support President Erdoğan retains abroad.


‘Ballot papers could have been printed at home’

On Sky News, 17 April 2017, following the previous day’s executive presidency referendum in Turkey which resulted in an unofficial Yes result.

“Ballot papers need to carry an official seal. That seal is from the president of the polling station, the person who’s in charge of running things around that ballot box.

“What the election authorities in Turkey said yesterday, just as the ballot boxes were closing, was that any ballot that does not carry that official seal will be considered valid.

“That notionally means that somebody could at home have printed reams and reams of ballot papers, pre-stamped them Yes, and forced them into people’s hands as they entered the polling station – which does infringe on the privacy of the ballot box and makes the result potentially not healthy.”

‘One person is dying daily’

Contributing to a report on Sky News, 5 January 2017, following a bombing in İzmir.

“In the last 18 months there have been dozens of bombings, shootings and attacks on security personnel – that’s resulted in the deaths of 500 people. That’s one person a day. That’s the context of Turkey’s security problem.”

No-one in Turkey asks awkward questions any more

On Sky News, 1 January 2017, following a night club shooting in Istanbul.

“How is it that somebody could come into the centre of Istanbul with such weaponry and commit such an atrocity?

“The problem is your correspondent can ask those questions but in Turkey very few people are.

“People are afraid for their jobs, people are afraid for their liberty and so awkward questions are not being asked and awkward questions are what functioning societies really operate on.”

‘A 20th century coup in the 21st century’

Providing commentary for Sky News’s rolling coverage on a fateful night for Turkey, Michael described the coup attempt as “a 20th century coup happening in the 21st century”, highlighting the parallels with the September 1980 military takeover.

He added that unlike that coup, it did not appear to be orchestrated by the highest ranks of the military and there is no guarantee of success.

Hours later the coup attempt would indeed fail.

Available as audio only.

      Michael Daventry on Sky News, 15 July 2016 - Sky News

The role of Turkey in Britain’s EU referendum

A month before voters in the UK decided whether their country should remain an EU member, Michael contributes to a Sky News report examining the role of Turkey in the referendum campaign. Many are upset by the anti-Turkish rhetoric because it misses the point of European Union enlargement, which is to improve conditions at home so people don’t feel the need to migrate.

Originally broadcast on Sky News, 23 May 2016.