MHP leader calls President’s, PM’s remarks on ‘federalism’ debate satisfactory

MHP leader calls President’s, PM’s remarks on ‘federalism’ debate satisfactory

MHP leader calls President’s, PM’s remarks on ‘federalism’ debate satisfactory Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on April 14 that remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım refuting a “federal state structure” with the constitutional amendments are satisfactory.

“Those statements are extremely satisfactory. Only CHP (Republican People's Party) and the elements of the no campaign can keep on this debate after those statements,” Bahçeli said in an interview with private broadcaster Show TV, adding that the debate only strengthened the yes votes for the referendum.

The two main supporters of the “Yes” camp became embroiled in a last-minute row over whether the shift to an executive presidential system constitutional amendments will introduce a “federal state structure.

President Erdoğan on April 14 denied claims that the country’s unitary system will be eroded. 

“The biggest defender of the unitary structure of Turkey is us, myself. That will continue to be the case. [A federal] state [system] or federation, none of this on our agenda and will not be,” Erdoğan said.

Bahçeli had previously slammed advisers of Erdoğan for suggesting the possibility of a federal structure if the “yes” side prevails in the referendum.

“If advisors are speaking of a state [federal] structure and the president is not ruling this out, then what will be the decision of the nationalists, who support a unitary structure, just two days before the [referendum]?” he said.

“If my advisors spoke of a federal system, I would dismiss them,” he added. 

Bahçeli clarified that his remarks were about whether the advisor sabotaged the campaign process by serving for another purpose.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also refuted the claims. 

“I will resign from my position as party chairman and prime minister if it is proven that there is any article in this constitution that could pave the way for [the establishment of] a federal state,” Yıldırım said.

The suggestion of a “federal structure” was made by presidential advisor Şükrü Karatepe, but Erdoğan in an interview late on April 13 stressed that he had been misunderstood.