No turning back from presidential system, says Erdoğan

No turning back from presidential system, says Erdoğan

No turning back from presidential system, says Erdoğan

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed that there is no turning back from a presidential system in his address during a mass opening ceremony, a day after Prime Minister Davutoğlu announced he would leave his post following a rift with Erdoğan.

“At this point, there is no turning back. Everybody should accept this by now,” Erdoğan said during a speech at the inauguration ceremony in Istanbul’s Eyüp district on May 6.

“I believe the new constitution will be prepared in a way that would institutionalize this new way of administration that was brought about based on the preference and approval of our people,” he added, arguing the period of uncertainty between the general elections of June 7 and November 1, 2015, was completed “without crises” thanks to a “strong presidency.”

“Our nation knows that despite elections and changing governments, there is not and will not be a vacuum in the country’s administration thanks to a directly-elected president,” Erdoğan added, discussing his motivation for bringing up the issue of a presidential system. 

Involvement with AKP ‘natural’

President also touched upon Davutoğlu’s May 5 announcement of an upcoming snap congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and his remarks that he will not compete in the race as a candidate. 

“Posts like this are kind of like relay races. I took the flag of Prime Ministry from Mr. Gül [Former President and PM Abdullah Gül]. Now, at the congress on May 22, the next person to be elected will receive the flag from Mr. Davutoğlu,” he said, describing this as a process rather than a crisis.

Wishing success to Davutoğlu’s predecessor, Erdoğan also slammed criticism of his involvement in the AKP’s intra-party affairs, as Turkey’s president is constitutionally obliged to be bipartisan. 

“Some are disturbed that I am following closely the developments inside the party that is run by my friends of 40 years, which I founded and led for nearly 12 years. Why are you disturbed? What can be more natural?” he asked, saying he was elected to the seat of the presidency with his identity as the leader of the AKP. 

No changes in anti-terror law

Erdoğan also discussed the issue of allowing Schengen-free travel to Europe for Turkish citizens as part a deal with Brussels on curbing migration and said no deal will be made in case the EU insists on Ankara amending its anti-terror law. 

“Why don’t you change your mentality of allowing terrorist camping near the European Parliament?” he asked, adding the EU is making this request at a time when Turkey is under attack from terror organizations and their offshoots.

The fate of Turkey’s visa liberalization scheme has recently emerged as an issue of concern after PM Davutoğlu, who led the negotiations with Brussels, announced his resignation on May 5.