Presidential system not the source of dictatorship: Turkish PM Davutoğlu

Presidential system not the source of dictatorship: Turkish PM Davutoğlu

Presidential system not the source of dictatorship: Turkish PM Davutoğlu

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has sought to reassure that neither he nor President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded to hold all power in the country refuting opposition claims that adopting the presidential system would bring “dictatorship” to Turkey.

“There is an argument that the presidential system will create authoritarianism. What’s your proof for that?  Those who have little knowledge of politics and political science know that democracy is implemented both under presidential and parliamentary systems. These are both described as democratic systems in comparative political studies. Inclinations for authoritarianism can come from parliamentary systems as well,” Davutoğlu said in an interview with the Kanal 7 late on Feb. 4. 

“[Authoritarianism] can be born out of either the parliamentary or the presidential system. What is important is political mentality and how one looks at this issue,” he said, adding that in countries where democratic culture is “not mature” there is always a risk of drifting toward authoritarianism.

As an example of an authoritarian leader emerging from the parliamentary system, Davutoğlu gave the example of Adolf Hitler in the Weimar Republic before World War II.

“In today’s Turkey, the elected president and prime minister, both strong personalities, will bring about a great synergy if they both run for Turkey. Thank God, we have this synergy. It has created a new excitement,” he said, while stressing that discussions about the adoption of a presidential system are “not personal” and the system should be designed to function for “at least for 50 or 100 years.”

 ‘I get angry when I read the constitution’

Davutoğlu said the new constitution will be one of main items of the ruling party’s pre-election campaign, describing the current charter as intending to “protect the state rather than the people.”
“[The constitution] gives freedom in one line and then takes it back in the next two lines. I sometimes get angry when I read it,” he said.  

The new constitution will not only be based on the presidential system, but on a “new political understanding that highlights a pro-democratic, pro-freedom nature,” he stressed, saying the new constitutional framework should be designed in line with the principle of the separation of powers and effective checks and balances.  

“We hope to win a majority to change the constitution in the June elections. My first objective, as the person who will ask votes from the people, is this. Once we reach this majority, our objective is to create the infrastructure of a freedom-based constitution through the largest possible consensus. The constitution will be better with the inclusion of all parties,” Davutoğlu said.