Former CHP chair Baykal slams President Erdoğan’s constitutional change bid
AA photoDeniz Baykal, the former chair and deputy of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is “making a mistake” with his push for a new constitution that would shift Turkey to a presidential system.
Baykal also said he had “serious concerns” regarding the voting process of the draft, adding that if MPs were allowed to vote with a “free will” the draft would not pass.
“It should not pass,” he stated during a Dec. 29 interview on private broadcaster Habertürk.
“If parliament makes a warning about this issue, they would withdraw it. It would then be difficult to take it to the people [for a referendum],” said Baykal.
The former CHP head said strong leaders are needed both in Turkey and abroad, but “strong leadership does not mean gathering all powers in one pair of hands.”
“Strong leaders are not those who demand this. Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] was a strong leader and he did not demand these [powers]. He introduced a multi-party system to Turkey. He tried to find an order that would perpetuate after him,” said Baykal.
He also criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) proposal that would enable presidents to maintain an official link to a political party, saying this move would give the president undue powers over parliament, the government and the judiciary.
“Barack Obama has only been able to appoint one Supreme Court judge during his term in power, because they are appointed for life terms. This is big guarantee … According to the AKP’s constitution draft, the number of members to be appointed to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors [HSYK] will rise to 13 … [The president] will also decide on the body’s form, and it seems that the election law will change as well,” said Baykal.
Referring to the CHP, he said the party’s “modernization project” continued to be “the best option for Turkey,” adding that the party had allowed itself to be portrayed as if it does not have a coherent forward-looking strategy.
“The CHP’s principles are Turkey’s exit path,” said Baykal.