Erdoğan’s fear lies beneath constitutional amendment package: CHP lawmaker Baykal
ANKARABeneath the constitutional amendment package lies the fear of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker has said, as he linked their anxiety to the June 7, 2015 general elections.
The constitutional amendment package seeks to shift the current parliamentary system into an executive presidency.
“There is a fear of being tried underlying this package,” Deniz Baykal, who is also the former head of CHP, told daily Cumhuriyet, adding that the fear was the same one President Erdoğan experienced on June 7 elections.
“This package was created out of fear. This fear is the fear of June 7. June 7 was a nightmare and a disaster for Erdoğan. He doesn’t want to go through that nightmare again with this package,” he said.
Baykal stressed that President Erdoğan was trying all methods that would allay his chances of being tried, noting that the Dec. 17-25, 2013 graft probe operations were still being debated on.
“In a context like this, the fear of being tried can be seen clearly. He wants to ensure being tried is impossible. Because according to these changes, he fears that a total of 400 lawmakers can vote in favor of him being put on trial. But in a system where the president is the head of a political party, it is impossible to reach that number. Even if 400 votes are reached, which court is going to try him?” he said.
The December 2013 corruption cases targeted figures close to the government and resulted in lasting enmity between the AKP and the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, as prosecutors close to the movement were said to have launched the probe. Gülenists in the judiciary and police forces have since been purged from their positions as they have also been accused of being the orchestrators of the July 15 thwarted coup that attempted to oust Erdoğan’s government.
Baykal stated that in June 7, 2015 Erdoğan saw that people held the power to form a majority against him. “Because he saw it, he is taking precautions. He wants to link parliamentary elections to the presidential elections. This way, he disallows the ruling party and the parliament to get out of his control,” he said.