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Declaring his ruling Justice and Development Party the strongest supporter of separation of powers, the PM says principle needs to be redefined.

Declaring his ruling Justice and Development Party the strongest supporter of separation of powers, the PM says principle needs to be redefined.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is strongly bound to the principle of the separation of power, clarifying his earlier statement that this fundamental principle was the main obstacle for his government.

“The strongest supporter of this principle is my party [Justice and Development Party - AKP]. No one should try to distort this. I have just outlined our disturbances,” Erdoğan said in an interview with NTV late Dec. 21. “Our disturbance is that the judiciary intervenes in the actions of the executive and the legislative.”

In a statement last week, Erdoğan described the principle of the separation of power and bureaucratic oligarchy as the main obstacles to his government’s actions, especially court rulings that nixed major privatization projects.

“None of these powers – the judiciary, the legislative and the executive – can exercise power on behalf of each other. But there occurred so many things in the past that we have seen the judiciary intervene into the actions of the legislative,” he said, recalling the Constitutional Court’s annulment of a law liberating the use of headscarf.

“Otherwise, we are not against the judiciary’s right to check the executive’s actions,” Erdoğan said, adding that the presidential system they suggested aimed at strengthening this principle of the separation of powers.

 When reminded of President Abdullah Gül’s statement that this principle was a fundamental of democracy, Erdoğan said, “I did not say anything different from this.” Earlier in the day, Gül said the separation of powers was an indispensable component of democracy.

“There were some wrong examples from the past, the prime minister meant those. We all know that the separation of powers is a fundamental principle of democracy. There is a need to look at the issue from this point of view,” Gül told reporters in Istanbul.

Gül was also careful not to make a fuss after he was not invited to an official ceremony to mark the launching of the Göktürk-2 observation satellite.

“There must have been a mistake; there is no need to look for a deliberate intention in this. There is no such intention,” Gül said when asked to comment on the fact that he had not received an invitation to the launch ceremony of the Göktürk-2 – the country’s first domestic, high-resolution, observation satellite – that was held on Dec. 18.

Despite Gül’s carefully tailored statement on the issue, officials from the Çankaya Presidential Palace, speaking to Hürriyet Daily News earlier in the day, confirmed that the absence of an invitation had led to “unease” at Çankaya.

“It is of course not a pleasant situation when looking from here,” one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, briefly told the Daily News.

Nonetheless, the same officials from Gül’s office declined to elaborate on which institution was responsible for such neglect and said they were not interested in that part of the issue, in an apparent attempt to avoid giving the impression of yet another divergence between Gül and Erdoğan.

December/22/2012

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