AKP confesses regime change through referendum: Main opposition CHP

AKP confesses regime change through referendum: Main opposition CHP

AKP confesses regime change through referendum: Main opposition CHP

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The government has confessed that Turkey’s century-long republican regime will be changed if a shift to an executive presidential system is approved in a referendum on April 16, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, citing a top presidential advisor who said the referendum contains “revolutionary characteristics.”

“The regime is changing. They [the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)] say so themselves. A top advisor said ‘the public will form its own state on April 16.’ What does it mean to form a new state? Are we establishing a new regime? Will the name of the country change?” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a meeting in Bursa on April 11.

His comments came after Mehmet Uçum, a top advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, stirred debate by saying the upcoming referendum has “revolutionary characteristics.”

“It is not silent. Our public is making a revolution out loud. Are you aware of that? The public is taking a step to form its own state,” Uçum posted through his official Twitter account on April 10.

In response, Kılıçdaroğlu said the country should “defend democracy.” 

“Every farmer, every shop owner has a responsibility to their children and to history. We have to think through this. Are we going to defend the democratic parliamentary system or vote for a one-man regime? We are voting on that,” he added. 

The CHP Deputy Leader Veli Ağbaba also blasted Uçum’s comments. 

“This statement of the advisor to the president is not an ordinary sentence. It is a proclamation to revolt against the republican regime itself,” Ağbaba said via his social media account on April 10.

“Those who rejected our statements that the regime is changing have revealed the truth with their own statements. Are you going to establish a new country by bringing down the State of the Republic of Turkey?” he added.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of being in contact with coup plotters on the night of an attempted takeover last year.

Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu for escaping from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, stressing he would have never invited him to a unity rally in the aftermath of the coup attempt had he known about it earlier. 

“His contact [with coup plotters] is at issue. They are seen approaching in cars with projectors toward two tanks; they are holding a meeting and then they are leaving from there. That shows everything was planned,” Erdoğan said on a joint radio program late April 10. 

Kılıçdaroğlu had earlier claimed the July 2016 coup attempt, believed to have been staged by the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), was a controlled coup, arguing that the government had not taken necessary measures before the coup occurred even though it knew about the potential of a military move. Erdoğan said Kılıçdaroğlu’s allegations were an insult to the 249 people who were killed by the coup plotters that night. 

He further accused Kılıçdaroğlu of being in contact with the coup plotters after pro-government private broadcaster A Haber aired footage of Kılıçdaroğlu’s departure from the Atatürk Airport in the early hours of the coup attempt. 

Erdoğan accused CHP leader of escaping the airport while he was the one standing against the tanks at the same venue a few hours after the CHP leader left the scene. 
“I would never have invited him [to Yenikapı rally],” Erdoğan said, referring to a massive unity rally organized to denounce the coup attempt with the participation of all political parties, except the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). 

“Why? How can I invite someone who made an agreement with coup plotters?” he said.