I would go to palace again if country at risk: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

I would go to palace again if country at risk: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

I would go to palace again if country at risk: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he would not hesitate to visit President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace if Turkey faces a major threat, while responding to a recent mockery by Erdoğan on his visit after the failed coup attempt last year. 

“If a similar thing happens again and Turkey faces a threat of a coup, I would go again, as everything else is just a detail when the country itself is at stake,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at an event in the northwestern province of Bursa on March 27, adding that dragging the country to such “unfruitful debates” is wrong. 

Erdoğan had said in the Mediterranean province of Antalya on March 25 that Kılıçdaroğlu had visited him at the palace after the coup attempt, breaking his earlier vow not to go. 

“That person said ‘I will not go there.’ But he did come in the end. I knew he would come. Their words are not valid,” he stated, referring to the CHP head. 

Erdoğan, Kılıçdaroğlu, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli met at the palace in Ankara on July 25, 2016, only 10 days after the foiled military coup attempt, to discuss measures against the coup plotters.

Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu also stressed that the shift to an executive presidential system, supported by the government and due to be voted on in a referendum on April 16, will give the president the authority to annul parliament at his or her will. 

“With the new system, the president can annul parliament without any justification,” he told the audience in Bursa, adding that despite the denials of officials, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) campaign leaflets feature the related article. 

The article included in the constitutional amendment states that the president will have the authority to go for re-election. 

“If the President decides to renew elections, the general election of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and the presidential election will be held together,” the Article 116 states. 

“If the Assembly decides to renew the elections in the second term of the Presidency, the President may once again be a candidate,” it adds. 

The AKP, however, argues that the article does not refer to an annulment but rather the authority to go for re-election, where the parliamentary and presidential election will be held at the same time and parliament will also have the authority to decide to hold a re-election with a 3/5 majority. 

Kılıçdaroğlu slammed this denial, saying the amendment will pave the way for the president to be elected for a third term, beyond the constitutionally stipulated two-term limit.

“The authority to annul parliament was not even given to Atatürk in 1924. With this authority to annul parliament, there will be an opportunity for the president to be elected for a third time. That is the main objective,” he said. 

“Is it right to mock people’s minds?” he added. 

The CHP leader also stated that the amendment does not include any restriction on the number of vice presidents or their qualification. 

“It is unknown how many vice presidents there will be. It is left totally down to the president’s will. The president can assign all the provincial heads of his or her party as vice presidents. The mind of one person is enough,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

“The structure of the state and its operation is currently defined by parliament. Now, they say it will be defined by just one person. Is it right to give one person so much authority?” he added.