President Erdoğan meets MHP leader amid presidential debate

President Erdoğan meets MHP leader amid presidential debate

President Erdoğan meets MHP leader amid presidential debate

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital Ankara on Nov. 3, amid ongoing debates over the government’s bid to introduce an executive presidential system.

Presidential sources said the meeting was first set during the reception of Turkey’s national Republic Day on Oct. 29.

The meeting follows Bahçeli’s proposal on Oct. 11 to hold a referendum to Turkish citizens to decide on whether the country should shift to an executive presidential system, which prompted debate on a new constitutional amendment that would include an executive presidential system. 

The Nov. 3 meeting at the presidential palace is seen as the government’s attempt to seek support from the MHP for its constitutional bid.

While the MHP leader’s proposal was enthusiastically welcomed by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım vowed to submit the party’s own charter draft to parliament very soon. The MHP will decide its stance on a constitutional bid after evaluating the AKP’s draft, Bahçeli said on Oct. 25.

“The AKP should bring what they have prepared and we will see and evaluate it. Afterwards, we will act based on what we see is right and will solidly stand behind our decision,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş had said on Oct. 30 that the AKP has prepared two constitutional drafts but they will not announce them unless a majority in a parliamentary vote is guaranteed.

“The AKP has two drafts in hand. In order to finalize the constitutional change, we have to see the stance and manners of the opposition parties,” Kurtulmuş said.  

“We will listen to the other parties’ opinions in order to reach 330 seats in parliament. We will listen to what they say and then we will act. We won’t act unless we are sure that parliament will give 330 votes. We will initiate matters after we see that it will pass,” he added.

With 316 seats in parliament, the AKP is at least 14 votes short of introducing a constitutional amendment, as any charter change requires the support of at least 330 votes in order to take it to a referendum. The MHP has 40 seats at parliament.