Erdoğan vows to transform entire political system, again demands ‘400 MPs’
AA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again vowed to transform Turkey’s entire political system, saying the adoption of the presidential system will constitute a profound reform to this end and repeating his call for “400 lawmakers” to amend the constitution.
“In our country, the current political system is itself an obstacle to change. That’s why we regard the presidential system as a profound reform, a radical step for the change of the political system in Turkey,” Erdoğan said at a symposium hosted by the Ankara Political and Economic Studies Center (ASEM) on April 30.
He gave a lengthy lecture at the symposium on the adoption of the presidential system, criticizing opponents of this system for carrying out an “ideology-based discussion based on repeating the mistakes of the past.”
Erdoğan said all parties were in agreement on the need for reforming the functioning of the entire state, but the current political system is unable to do this. “Is it possible for a political system that cannot resolve its own problems to find solutions to the country’s structural problems?” he asked.
“We should make this observation: Turkey’s democracy is currently Anglo-Saxon in model and French in spirit. This causes an intermingling of democracy and the republic. More clearly, while this system was being reinforced through a bureaucratic oligarchy, the people’s participation in this process through democratic means was ignored,” Erdoğan said.
However, Turkey’s current climate is highly suitable for a systemic change as the country’s president was elected with the support of 52 percent of the people, Erdoğan stressed.
“Changes in the system may be painful. That’s why these big changes can only be undertaken by strong leaders who have strong societal support. These leaders will reduce the consequences of such changes to a minimum level through the confidence they provide to the people,” he said.
Erdoğan detailed what the system he has in mind will look like.
“Of course, this system will not be a copy of the presidential system in the United States and will not resemble those in South America. For sure, this system will have no similarities to dictatorships in Asia and Africa. This system will be unique to Turkey,” he said.
Rejecting claims that adoption of the presidential system will abolish the separation of powers in Turkey, Erdoğan said this principle will be “truly implemented” in the new system.
“The principle of the separation of powers can be founded on a more efficient and healthy basis through the presidential system,” he claimed.
Erdoğan drew a distinction between a presidential system “for the state and the people” and the current position of the president as head of state, whose “sole job is to represent the state and the regime.”
“The presidency, which was positioned as the protector of the regime and to bring the government to its knees, collapsed on Aug. 10, 2014,” he said, referring to presidential elections in which he was directly elected by the popular vote, in a first in Turkish political history.
‘Turkey like a car soon to be out of gas’
In his second address on April 30, this time to a provincial association linked to bus and minibuses owners, Erdoğan weighed into the opposition for “blocking” previous attempts to rewrite the constitution.
“We tried to make a new constitution but the main opposition did everything to block it. Other opposition parties did the same. Now there is a reality: 400 [lawmakers] should be given. Give 400 deputies and let’s have a new constitution easily. I am at equal distance from all parties, but give 400 deputies to whoever you want,” he said, referring to the neutrality that the president is supposed to observe according to the constitution.
He also depicted the current administration method as a “car whose engine is spluttering and whose fuel tank is nearly out of gas.”
“With this car you can only go to a nearby gas station. If you push the limits of the car, you will be stranded. Turkey is now trying to continue on its path with a decaying system that will soon be out of gas,” he said.