Main opposition leader blasts AKP-MHP presidential bid

Main opposition leader blasts AKP-MHP presidential bid

Main opposition leader blasts AKP-MHP presidential bid

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Main opposition leader Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the government for seeking “regime change by using the state of emergency,” while also blasting the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for “supporting the government” by reviving the debate over the presidential system.

“[The government] is waiting for an opportunity to change the regime. Its motivation in the state of emergency is to change the political system,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party group in parliament on Oct. 18.

His statement came shortly after MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli commented on his party’s possible support for paving the way to a referendum for a constitutional amendment, which will include a presidential shift in the regime.

Bahçeli lent indirect support by underlining that the final decision on whether Turkey should change its political system should be given by the people at a referendum. 

The MHP head criticized the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) for “violating the constitution” by creating a de facto presidential system. “Either the president stops insisting on forcing the de facto presidential system, which for us is the right choice, or the methods to legalize the de facto situation should be sought,” Bahçeli said.

His comments prompted a heated debate about the presidential system change, which resulted in Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Bahçeli meeting on Oct. 18 with this on the agenda.

Kılıçdaroğlu reiterated the CHP’s position against the presidential system change, while recalling the anti-coup declaration signed by all four parties at parliament just after the 15 July coup attempt, quoting from the text.

“The Grand National Assembly of Turkey is a parliament that conducted the War of Independence, implemented Turkey’s transition to democracy, and improved the democratic parliamentary system over years,” Kılıçdaroğlu read, slamming Bahçeli and Yıldırım for acting against the declaration.

“The declaration refers to the ‘democratic parliamentary system,’ meaning that parliament protects this system. Now, I want to ask the leaders: Do you deny that your signature is on this declaration? If you deny your signature and say this system can be now removed, it means you’re under the control of external forces,” he added.