Uncontrolled power will bring disaster: Turkey’s main opposition CHP leader
ISTANBULMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said uncontrolled power for the president “will bring Turkey to disaster,” ahead of the April 16 referendum on whether to shift the current parliamentary system to an executive presidency.
“This has nothing do with parties or individuals. Authority exists in democracies to be controlled. Uncontrolled power is not power. Uncontrolled power results in disaster,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during a meeting with neighborhood heads in Istanbul’s Şişli district on April 1.
“The reason for the existence of the constitution is to secure the citizens in the face of the state’s power. If you want justice to be strong, then we will vote ‘no,’” he added.
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to change the government system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president or to protect the current parliamentary system.
The “yes” vote is endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the CHP and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are campaigning for a “no” vote.
Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP is in favor of changing the current constitution, which he described as a “coup law,” referring to the 1982 constitution passed after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup.
“We want the constitution and the regulations issued after Sept. 12 that violate the constitution to change. We also want the 10 percent election threshold to be lifted,” he added, while criticizing the proposed system for “not solving any problems.”
“Is there a problem of unemployment? According to official numbers, 6.5 million people are unemployed. Does it [new system] solve this problem? No. Is there stability in the economy or the currency? No. Do the changes include an article to solve this? No,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said the proposed changes “give the power to annul parliament to one person whenever they want,” adding that parliament will be weakened if “yes” votes prevail.
“We are giving authority to one person. He is able to annul parliament and decide to go to elections whenever he wants. Isn’t it a sin to give all these powers to one person? It is human to make mistakes. If one family member makes a mistake, the whole family pays the price. And if someone who represents 80 million people makes a mistake, then 80 million people pay the price,” he said.