Aliyev: New era to begin in Turkey after referendum

Aliyev: New era to begin in Turkey after referendum

Aliyev: New era to begin in Turkey after referendum Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev has commented on Turkey’s upcoming referendum on whether the country should retain the current parliamentary system or opt for an executive presidency, saying “he’s sure it will go very well.”

“I’m sure that the referendum will go very well. The Turkish people will present their will and a new and more stable era in Turkey’s life will begin,” Aliyev said Feb. 23.

Aliyev made the comments during a meeting with Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak in Baku. 

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 AKP and the leadership of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Albayrak, meanwhile, congratulated Mihriban Aliyeva, Aliyev’s wife, on her appointment to the first vice-president post.

The Azerbaijani Presidency said in a statement that Aliyeva was appointed to the first vice presidential post according to the 103rd Article of the Azerbaijani constitution on Feb. 21.

On Sept. 26, 2016, Azerbaijan held a referendum on 29 constitutional amendments, with the public approving the measures with an 86.6 percent vote.

One of the amendments had sought the creation of two vice-presidential posts whose occupants would be appointed and dismissed by the president. The amendment enables the first vice president to hold the presidential powers in the absence of the president if he/she becomes incapable of discharging his duties.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also congratulated Aliyev on her appointment. 

Meanwhile, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul lawmaker Professor Burhan Kuzu, who helped draft the charter amendments proposed by his party, commented on the appointment, saying he did not find it appropriate. 

“In each and every [system] model, it’s not right and ethical to favor relatives,” he said, while adding that there was no legal obstacle in Azerbaijan for doing so.

“Let’s assume that he made his wife the vice president and gave his proxy to her when he goes abroad, what obstacle is there? It’s not very nice, but there are no legal obstacles. This also has nothing to do with the system. One can do this in the presidential model or the parliamentary system. It’s not right, but there is no such thing as ‘when the presidency is introduced, this can happen but otherwise it can’t.’ I don’t find the appointment right, but nothing can be said against the presidential system by taking this example into consideration,” he said. 

Speaking about the appointment, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Bülent Tezcan noted the problems that could occur when leaving decision to a president’s “goodwill.”

“He [Aliyev] was given the authority last year and made the appointment this year. So, one can do this,” he said. 

Another CHP lawmaker that criticized the appointment was CHP parliamentary group deputy chair Engin Altay, who said “one can also make his son the vice-president” if the presidential system is introduced.