AKP aims to create ‘political aristocracy’: Turkey’s CHP
AA photoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is aiming to create a “political aristocracy” by reducing the minimum age for parliamentary candidates from 25 to 18 as part of its constitutional amendments to be voted on in the April 16 referendum, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.
“Those friends have reduced [the minimum parliamentary candidacy] age to 18 for their own children and grandchildren. They will make them lawmakers at the age of 18 and will exempt them from military service with an amendment,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview broadcast on a radio station early on March 6.
“Can the son of a barber, the son of a greengrocer, the son of a shoeshiner, or the son of any industrialist be a deputy at the age of 18? In today’s conditions, he cannot. So whose children will be lawmakers at the age of 18? The children of those men in Ankara and those who are making this amendment. In this way a political aristocracy will be created,” he added.
The CHP leader also said Turkey would “take a deep breath” if the public votes against constitutional changes introducing an executive presidential system on April 16.
“If ‘no’ prevails, Turkey will take a deep breath on the morning of April 17,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview.
“The current system will continue as it is today,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated his earlier comments on the constitutional change, saying the amendment would bring about a “regime change.”
“In this new regime, it will not be parliament but one person that will make regulations on the structure and functioning of the state. We have to decide whether one person should decide on this or whether it will be decided in parliament with decisions so that reason will dominate,” he added.
The CHP head also criticized Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım for claiming that a “no” vote would “end terror.”
“They have been ruling for 15 years. What has kept them from ending terror?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“One party for 15 years. There is a majority in parliament, all ministers belong to them, laws are issued, they get the decisions they want. What is the regime’s relation to not ensuring stability in the economy?” he added.
Arguing that the amendment would destroy the principle of the separation of powers, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the AKP’s claim that representative power would be strengthened by raising the number of MPs, as foreseen in the change.
“It is an absolute comedy. If they want to strengthen parliament’s representative power, the 10 percent threshold should be lifted. That regulation was introduced after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. They do not want to lift it because it is not to their benefit,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also blasted the government for accusing naysayers of supporting terrorism by arguing against the constitutional charter.
“That is a result of a weakness. They are effectively saying: ‘I can’t say anything to the citizen about why they should vote ‘yes,’ so let’s accuse the ‘no’ voters,’” he said.
“Constitutional texts are a text of societal consensus. If half of this society is saying ‘yes’ and other half is saying ‘no,’ this amendment is one that divides society,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“I want all of my citizens to go to the ballot thinking about all the details, asking and investigating, referring to their conscience. It is a very heavy burden to say ‘yes’ to this constitutional amendment in terms of the future of this country, our children,” he said.