PM says will leave office ‘with pleasure’ if Turkey shifts system
ANKARATurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said he is ready to abandon his office “with pleasure” in the event that the Turkish people vote in favor of constitutional amendments that usher in an executive system that abolishes the position of prime minister.
“I will be very frank: If I want this change feverishly, that means this is something very good and beneficial for my country. If I abandon my personal ambition, if I want to leave my position and if I do it with pleasure, that shows that this is important for the future of my country,” Yıldırım told CNN Türk in an interview on April 1.
“If my country will win with it, what is the importance of one man losing [his position]? This is not a loss for me but an honor,” he said.
The 18-article constitutional amendments package envisages a drastic change to Turkey’s governance system, as the president will be the sole head of the executive while abolishing the prime ministry. Yıldırım will be the last prime minister of Turkey if the package is approved in a referendum on April 16.
Yıldırım said there were some public opinion surveys in their hands but added that they would not disclose them since the “real survey” will take place on referendum day.
‘Dead or alive’
Yıldırım also touched on the whereabouts of Adil Öksüz, a key figure in the failed July 2016 coup, who went missing right after the putsch was thwarted.
Some ruling party officials has suggested that Öksüz might be receiving protection at a diplomatic mission after it was revealed that the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul attempted to phone Öksüz days after the coup to inform that his visa to the U.S. had been canceled upon Turkey’s demand.
“Well, he is being searched for everywhere. As he cannot be found, such claims are being put forward. But we are attempting to trace him. He will be found where he is. Dead or alive,” Yıldırım said.
‘FETÖ has no political leg’
Yıldırım also addressed questions as to why the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was not attempting to reveal the political leg of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
“I say very clearly there is no [political leg]. We have already done what is necessary for those [who have been linked with FETÖ],” he said, recalling that the party dismissed some mayors, members of municipal assemblies and some party officials at different levels.
“We protect nobody. Whether he or she is a lawmaker or even my son. We don’t tolerate anybody linked to FETÖ,” he said.