AKP eyes coordination with MHP for charter referendum

AKP eyes coordination with MHP for charter referendum

Gizem Karakış - ANKARA
AKP eyes coordination with MHP for charter referendum

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Parliament is close to completing a voting process on contentious constitutional amendment package, prompting the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) to already begin work on a referendum campaign with plans for coordination with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). 

According to information gathered by daily Hürriyet, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has been frequently meeting with aides to discuss about the referendum slated for the first week of April. Four concepts to be used by the AKP include “Strong Parliament,” “Strong President,” “Strong Turkey” and “Stability.”  

The referendum campaign will begin 45 days before the referendum, AKP sources said, noting that coordination work with the MHP would also be carried out as the constitutional package is being supported by these two parties in parliament. “We will evaluate what MHP will do during the campaigning. The MHP will carry out its own rallies, but we will coordinate with them,” they said. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also expected to hold his own rallies while Yıldırım will visit a number of cities as part of the referendum campaign. 

Yıldırım: Charter campaign won’t fuel social division 

In the meantime, Yıldırım, speaking to Ankara the bureau chiefs of a number of newspapers, including Hürriyet’s Hande Fırat, did not comment on the possibility of holding joint rallies with the MHP. “That would not be proper for me to comment on something we have never discussed about,” he said.

“There appears a dual structure with regard to our political rivals. [MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli] already said he would vote for it. We will explain [the changes to the people] through rallies. The HDP [People’s Democratic Party] and CHP [Republican People’s Party] will oppose it,” he said.

Although there are clear differences between the four political parties, Yıldırım said he was not of the opinion that the referendum process would further fuel polarization in the country and would spark enmity within society. “This is the 19th time that we are amending the constitution through democratic ways. It brings about radical changes to the governance. The process has taken place within democratic boundaries, apart for some minor incidents,” he said.  

CHP softens language  

Yıldırım also highlighted that Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had softened his language on the constitutional amendments by adopting a more “democratic stance” while opposing shifting the system. 

“He continues his opposition in the framework of a more democratic and rule of law. This is a positive development,” he said, adding that all parties would go to the public to influence their votes before the key referendum, which is the “good side of democracy.”