Erdoğan blasts ‘delusional’ one-man regime accusation ahead of referendum

Erdoğan blasts ‘delusional’ one-man regime accusation ahead of referendum

Erdoğan blasts ‘delusional’ one-man regime accusation ahead of referendum

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Claims that the constitutional change shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system will introduce one-man rule are “delusional,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. 

“This accusation is a fallacy, a delusion that arises from having nothing to say to the public,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the capital Ankara on March 23, addressing words from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

"Let’s assume that the president goes astray and tries [to establish] one-man rule. Before all, the nation will come down on him. We will be asked to give an account by two: The people and God,” Erdoğan said.

“I look at the comments of the main opposition leader. Are we living in another country? Is this person living in another world? Nothing he says has any relation to the constitutional amendments,” he added.

His comments came after Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the constitutional amendment aiming to bringing about a “one-man regime,” granting excessive powers to the president.

“This person has insisted on a thing he calls ‘one man.’ I don’t know who this man he is talking about is. What is defined by the constitution is a president who will be assigned by election for a designated term,” Erdoğan said, criticizing CHP governments during Turkey’s single-party era in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Back then the CHP’s provincial heads were ruling as provincial governors,” he said.

“They are angry because we are tearing this system down. They know that they will not be able to come to power themselves, become ‘one man,’ and make provincial heads governors. That era in this country is over,” he added.

Erdoğan also responded to Kılıçdaroğlu’s criticism of the constitutional amendment for allowing the future president to annul parliament by his or her own wish.

“He says the president will be able to annul parliament. But the president will not have the authority to annul the parliament. Period. He is like a lying machine,” he said.

“The authority of the president consists of issuing executive decrees in accordance with the constitution and the laws. He or she cannot issue decrees against the law,” he added.

“If the president exceeds his power, the legislative authority can ask for an account of this person through parliamentary questionnaires, research and investigation commissions. If there is a crime, the supreme court will be the authority. Parliament will even be able to ask for snap elections, and the account can be asked on the ballot,” Erdoğan said.

“Who dares to be ‘one man’ in such a system?” he added.

Erdoğan slams Bulgaria over pressure on Turkish community on eve of key elections 

Erdoğan also criticized Bulgaria for “imposing pressure” on the Turkish community in the country on the eve of parliamentary elections, vowing it would continue to stand with Turks living in the Balkans and elsewhere in the world. 

“We hope that elections in Bulgaria will be held in comfort and result in a just and transparent way. Hearing that there is a pressure imposed [on the Turkish community] is seriously saddening us. On one hand, you will talk about democracy and on the other, you will pressure Turks,” he said.

Bulgaria will hold parliamentary elections this weekend and there are claims that the government is imposing pressure on the Turkish community which will run in the polls under two different political parties. 

Bulgaria, by contrast, expressed its anger that Turkey’s ambassador to Bulgaria, Süleyman Gökçe, had appeared in a video calling for Turks in Bulgaria to vote for the DOST party instead of another, more-established party favored by Turks, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HÖH). Turkey also prevented one HÖH candidate, Erdinç İsmail Hayrullah, from campaigning among Bulgarian citizens of Turkish extraction in Turkey.

“On the one hand you will talk about European Union acquis, on the other hand you will do the contrary. This is incredible,” Erdoğan said. 

Erdoğan expressed his hope that Bulgarian authorities will move within the boundaries of democracy and rule of law, vowing that Turkey would continue to stand with Turks living outside Turkey.