‘It’s time to discuss presidential system’

‘It’s time to discuss presidential system’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘It’s time to discuss presidential system’

Çiçek says today’s discussions are oriented with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s career rather than the advantages or disadvantages of the presidential system. AA photo

It’s high time for a discussion on amending the existing system with a presidential or semi-presidential system, the Parliament Speaker said, days after the prime minister suggested a system in which the president will not sever ties with the political party he or she is a member of. At the same time Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek urged the political parties to be explicit of the substance of these discussions.

“We are in the constitution-making process. In this sense, its timing is very suitable. But its content should also be satisfactory,” Çiçek said in an interview with Anatolia news agency.

The Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission will begin discussing the functions of executive bodies after concluding the writing of articles on fundamental human rights and freedoms, Çiçek said. It was the right of political parties to bring whatever they have to the table during this process, he said.

“The issue one should be careful about is: Most of the time, Turkey pretends that it’s discussing an issue. We are not discussing on an issue but the person in which this issue is related. Presidential system is the best example of it,” Çiçek said.

Recalling that the adoption of a presidential system had been discussed during Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel’s presidency, but that the debate then was focused on these personalities rather than the system itself, Çiçek likened it with today’s discussions.

Hinting that today’s discussions are oriented with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s career rather than the advantages or disadvantages of the presidential system, the Parliament Speaker urged all parties to discuss this issue in the light of scientific and academic studies.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, the most advocate member of the cabinet, responded to criticisms that the presidential system would turn into a dictatorship and argued this would in fact prevent “one man ruling”.

“A presidential system has been produced to avoid dictatorship and one man ruling. Think about it, if a president needs to have 50.01 percent of votes, could this president be an authoritarian, discriminator or ideological? This president should embrace all the society and that’s why this system is more democratic,” he said, in an interview with Channel 7.

Strong political leaders are rarely seen under parliamentary systems, Bozdağ said. “This system generates strong leaders, real leaders not paper tigers. Until our prime minister came [as a leader], have a look at Turkey’s past. Erdoğan appeared, but no one knows when a second Erdoğan would appear as a leader.”