President Erdoğan defends constitutional changes in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoThe Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 11 defended the major constitutional changes that will be submitted to Turkish citizens in a referendum in April.
Speaking at a symposium on presidential system in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the change “will not be an ordinary event”.
“The essence of the presidential system is that the administration is given to the Turkish people, directly. That's the truth. The president [...] has to keep an eye on the public because he is responsible to the citizenry at his every step,” he said.
Erdoğan said he was fighting for the new system, not himself, adding the Turkish nation would have the last word.
During his speech, Erdoğan denied allegations of wanting to render parliament ineffectual.
“What do they say without being embarrassed? ‘Parliament will be destroyed; there will be no parliament, no legislative body',” he said.
“The issue is not a democracy issue or freedom issue, certainly. The system that we are discussing is the most appropriate solution for Turkey and the Turkish people's longstanding problems that have been going on for centuries. This is the question,” he added.
Erdoğan approved on Feb. 10 the bill which sets the date for a referendum on widespread changes to the country’s constitution.
The head of Turkey’s Supreme Board of Elections also officially announced on Feb. 11 that the upcoming referendum on major constitutional changes will be held on April 16.