No referendum under state of emergency: PM Yıldırım

No referendum under state of emergency: PM Yıldırım

No referendum under state of emergency: PM Yıldırım

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Prime Minister Binali Yıldrım has signaled that Turkey’s state of emergency could be lifted before the country votes in a potential referendum on a new charter, while Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmuş also said the government wanted to see it lifted soon.  

Yıldırım told daily Hürriyet that his government would not permit any situation in which people could argue that “a referendum took place under a state of emergency,” suggesting that emergency rule, which was imposed after the July 15 coup attempt, would be lifted before a potential vote.

“For the presidential system, we will make a limited change. There will not be any early elections,” he added. 
Although noting that “there is no such thing as lifting it as soon as we enter 2017,” Yıldırım reiterated that the government did not want to hold a referendum on constitutional changes while the state of emergency is continuing. 

Yıldırım was speaking after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled on Nov. 25 that the state of emergency could be extended for additional three-month periods next year. 

“Amid the failed military coup attempt and terrorist acts … We may extend the state of emergency for maybe three months, maybe three more months after that,” said Erdoğan. 

The first three-month-period of state of emergency was introduced on July 21 after Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15 by supporters of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen within the military. On Oct. 21, the government decided to extend it for an extra three-month period, due to end on Jan. 21, 2017.

Kurtulmuş, meanwhile, stressed that they hoped the imposition would be ended “as soon as possible before going to the referendum,” adding that this would mean the start of “Turkey’s normalization process.”

However, he also noted that “the state of emergency will continue for as long as necessary, as there is a great fight continuing.”

Kurtulmuş also said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) discussions with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over the new constitution were continuing and that if both parties reached a consensus, then the leaders would have the final say. 

“We are not interested in the intentions of people or how they will move. Politics is a concrete field. We hope that, as the point we have reached shows, we are advancing toward a point that will surpass 330 votes in the parliament,” said Kurtulmuş.

His statements concerning the discussions with the MHP came on the same day as an interview published in daily Hürriyet with a former MHP member who is now a deputy prime minister for the AKP, Tuğrul Türkeş.

The deputy PM said the MHP’s reconciliatory attitude on the issue of a new constitution may be a ploy and that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli might be forcing the AKP to go to a referendum in the hopes that it would fail and prompt early elections for the AKP.