Presidential system not for afterlife, Erdoğan says
GAZİANTEPPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeated that Turkey must switch from parliamentary democracy to presidential system for an "accelerated development."
"I won't be carrying it to my grave. I want it for Turkey," Erdoğan said during a public address at an inauguration ceremony in the southeastern Turkish province of Gaziantep on March 7.
"The shroud has no pockets, so I won't be carrying the presidential system to the afterlife," he added.
Erdoğan is Turkey’s first directly-elected president and has repeatedly vowed to wield more power than his predecessors, prompting critics to accuse him of unconstitutionally centralizing power in what they say is a de facto presidential system.
On March 7, he once again broke away from the tradition of his predecessors who were careful of presenting a non-partisan public image.
"If the opposition feels discomfort due to my words, then we are on the right path," Erdoğan said March 7, asking Gaziantep residents to vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
"Give them 400 deputies with the June 7 general elections and this issue [the debate on presidential system] will be solved peacefully," he said, referring to his former AKP.
Erdoğan added that the current administration model "does not fit Turkey" and a new system that enables "faster decision-making" is needed today for an "accelerated development."
"When I talk about a new constitution or a presidential system, I dream of the Great Turkey, of 2023, of 2071. We won't be seeing those days, but I dream about it, so that our grandchildren will live them," he said.
In his speech, Erdoğan also described Gaziantep, a mixed city of ethnic Turks and Kurds, as "a model for the ongoing peace process."