Erdoğan to prevent Turkey from being turned into ‘a vegetarian lion’

Erdoğan to prevent Turkey from being turned into ‘a vegetarian lion’

Erdoğan to prevent Turkey from being turned into ‘a vegetarian lion’

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has begun employing a range of brand-new metaphors as part of his quest to impose a presidential system on Turkey, vowing to let nobody turn Turkey into “a country of vegetarian lions.”

“Turkey has changed its hardware from top to bottom thanks to big progress over the last 13 years. On the other hand, we are still trying to use our computer with a constitution which the 1960 and 1980 coups imposed on our nation – that is to say, with outdated software,” Erdoğan said May 10.

“We are faced with a constitution which has already turned into a rag bag with endless amendments and which has lost its completeness. If so, we should seek a way of greatly increasing our output by supporting the powerful hardware we have with software compatible with this. We need to approach the issue of a new constitution and presidential system just like that,” Erdoğan said while delivering a speech at a ceremony where “Honorable Service Certificate and Plaques” were presented to general assembly delegates of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

“Nobody has the right to turn Turkey into a country of lions that are destined to a vegetarian diet. Whatever is the desire of our nation and whatever is our country’s need, we should find solutions compatible with that and implement them,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan, the founding leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), wants to replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy with a Turkish version of the U.S. or French system, where the elected head of state holds executive power. His opponents fear a stronger Erdoğan presidency will increase authoritarianism and bring Turkey further from Western democratic standards. 

Under the present constitution, the president must remain above party politics and everyday government, but Erdoğan exerts strong influence through his popularity, and his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, long in
his shadow, stepped down last week, leaving the post temporarily empty and further weakening cabinet rule. 

“I said a ‘Turkish style’ or ‘Turkey style’ presidential system. They began to attack. These [opponents] do not want their own country’s brand either. Are we obliged to necessarily talk about American, French or this and that system?” Erdoğan asked at the time, before using a metaphor he previously used – in a bid to better explain his point about an “authentic Turkish-style” presidential system.

“We will gather from all of them, so to speak. We will gather from this and from that, from all of them, and then we will make our honey and present it to our nation. The issue is as simple as that,” he said in a speech delivered in January.