New Turkish PM again vows to bring in presidential system

New Turkish PM again vows to bring in presidential system

New Turkish PM again vows to bring in presidential system

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Turkey’s new prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, has vowed to boost efforts for the adoption of a presidential system as part of the new constitution in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s demands after officially taking the reins of power from Ahmet Davutoğlu at an extraordinary convention.

“The most important thing we have to do today is to turn this de facto situation into a legal one and thus end the confusion. The way to do is with a new constitution and the presidential system within it,” Yıldırım said in a statement to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the convention on May 22. 

Yıldırım was the sole candidate for the leadership, replacing Davutoğlu, who declared his resignation this month. Yıldırım was scheduled to be given the mandate to form the new government late May 22 after Davutoğlu submitted his resignation to Erdoğan after the closure of the AKP convention. 

In a sign of a substantial reshuffle in the cabinet and party management, Yıldırım’s list for the 50-seat Central Decision-Making Body Council (MKYK) featured 26 new figures. 

Although the convention was held to introduce Yıldırım as the new AKP chairman, all the symbolism at the Ankara’s Arena Hall was designed to prove that the real and unquestionable leader of the ruling party is Erdoğan. The congress hall was full of massive posters of Erdoğan, with videos showing footage of Erdoğan during his time as prime minister and president.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who was selected to chair the convention, made this explicit in a statement he made at the opening of the convention. “[The AKP] will continue to be the party of Tayyip as long as our people continue to say ‘The AK Party is the party of Tayyip.’ It’s not possible to think the AK Party is different from our president or our president is different from the AK Party. The AK Party has just one leader, our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” he said. 

Erdoğan’s message sets AKP’s mission 

Bozdağ’s statement was followed by a written statement from Erdoğan to the convention that expressed his belief that the new government would prioritize a systemic change to impose a presidential system on the country.

“My legal ties with my party might have been cut on Aug. 27, 2014, when I was elected as the president. But my bonds of love with my party have never been cut and will never been cut,” Erdoğan said. 

His message went beyond a routine congratulatory one as he directly expressed his demands from the next government. “I believe this weird rule that obliged the president to cut ties with the political cadres will be soon removed in this new era as part of efforts to renew the constitution and governance system,” he said.

Erdoğan also thanked Davutoğlu while wishing success to the new leader and party management.

Thousands of AKP members and ministers stood up in the hall as Erdoğan’s message was read out by Bozdağ.

New PM starts by saluting Erdoğan 

Continuing the symbolism, Yıldırım started his speech by respectfully saluting Erdoğan as “our leader, the architect of a bright Turkey.”  

“One of the first things to be done in the country is to rewrite the constitution,” Yıldırım stressed, asking the audience: “Are you ready to bring about the new constitution, presidential system?” 

The election of the president through a popular vote has changed everything as Erdoğan bears the responsibility of millions of people who voted for him, the new AKP leader said. 

“Although one argues that he [legally] has no responsibility, our president is a man of passion for Turkey and the people. His responsibility covers people’s problems. Therefore, the most important thing we have to do today is to turn this de facto situation into a legal one and thus end the confusion. The way to do is the new constitution and presidential system in it.” 

Operations to continue until PKK ends attacks 

Yıldırım also addressed the ongoing fight against terrorism. “This is a matter of the country. Our determination in the fight against terror will continue in the same way. We have lived in this country for a thousand years in unity and as brothers, and we will continue to live like this,” he said. 

Although many question when the operations being carried out by security forces will end, Yıldırım said: “I declare from here: These operations will continue until life and property security as well as their comfort of our people living in this region will be provided.”  

Turkey’s new premier vowed that operations would continue until attacks targeting civilians and security personnel will cease. “They will continue non-stop until the terror organization PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], which has blood on its hands, ends its armed attacks. My people should feel comfortable. We will remove this terror trouble from Turkey’s agenda.”

One the government’s fight against the parallel structure, he said: “It should be well known that there is only one state in this country. And this is the Republic of Turkey.”

EU should end confusion over Turkey 

Along with these matters, Yıldırım’s statement was predominantly focused on multi-billion-dollar projects, as he cited important ongoing projects like the third bridge and the world’s largest airport, although he also touched on Turkey’s EU accession process. Yıldırım called on the EU to end its confusion over Turkey’s overall membership process. “Turkey will either join or not join the EU; it will continue with determination to develop its democracy and human rights and to continue its development process as well as to fulfill all necessary regulations.”