AKP, CHP duel over US-model presidency
REUTERS photoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is ready to support a constitutional shift to a “U.S.-style presidential system” from the current parliamentary one, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, as main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu directed two major questions to him.
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu said on a television program that his party could support a presidential system like the one in America,” said Yıldırım, addressing his party deputies on June 14.
“We think this means ‘we are ready.’ So fine, let it be an American-style system. We would prefer a Turkish-style system, but if you insist then we’re in. Let’s see if you will,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu, a strong opponent of the presidential system, said the AKP was not intent on just bringing in a presidential system like the one in the U.S., where there are checks and balances.
“If you are going to impose a presidential system like the one in the U.S., you can. He [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] doesn’t want it. There are laws, states and local governments,” Kılıçdaroğlu told broadcaster CNN Türk late on June 7.
Yıldırım, who replaced Ahmet Davutoğlu on May 22 as the AKP leader and prime minister, has repeatedly said his priority is a change to the political system, in line with the wishes of Erdoğan.
“We will make a new constitution and we will bring a presidential system to this country, to Turkey,” Yıldırım said in an address to the provincial chiefs of the AKP on June 2, defining the process as the “most important task” for AKP supporters and the party itself.
“How can a president, who stood in front of 21 million-22 million citizens and asked for their support, come up and say, ‘I will not get involved in anything?’ Is there such a thing in politics?” Yıldırım asked, adding the president had a de facto responsibility, “whatever the constitution might say.”
During his speech in the parliamentary group meeting, Yıldırım said the main opposition was “again” giving a “sincerity test” to the people.
“I hope they don’t fail in this test as they failed in the previous ones. We expect them to seize the opportunity on behalf of the people,” Yıldırım added.
Kılıçdaroğlu asked Yıldırım during an address to his party two questions regarding the presidential system, once again praising the parliamentary system “founded by the ancestors” of Turks.
“I’m asking Mr. Binali Yıldırım two questions. Do you accept the federal system in Turkey? Secondly, each state in the U.S. has separate parliaments and laws. Do you accept this?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked, adding that they did not accept these.
“Come out and answer. Do you want to divide Turkey or not, come out and say it. I’m defending my country because I love it and my people, not because someone indoctrinates me to do it,” he also said.