Resign to end term row, CHP calls on Gül

Resign to end term row, CHP calls on Gül

Resign to end term row, CHP calls on Gül

DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Amid lingering uncertainty over the length of President Abdullah Gül’s term, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has pressed Gül to resign in 2012 to “prevent a crisis.”

“If this problem cannot be solved by law, the president can prevent the crisis. I urge the President to resign in April 2012 to initiate election procedures. If the government imposes on Gül a seven-year term the President can lead the election process by resigning,” CHP deputy Tanju Özcan said Dec. 16. 

The opposition insists Gül is entitled to a five-year, once renewable term under constitutional amendments passed by a referendum in 2007, arguing that amendments reducing parliamentary terms from five to four years, approved as part of the same package, had already taken effect. The ongoing controversy stems from uncertainty on whether the amendments should be considered retroactively to affect Gül’s mandate, which was originally seven years.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Gül are at loggerheads on the issue, Özcan said. “The Prime Minister should immediately announce that the presidential term is five years. If the Prime Minister cannot take this responsibility, Turkey will face turbulent days.”

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also insisted the president’s term was reduced to five years in 2007. “People approved the five-year mandate, how can they now say it is seven years,” said MHP deputy group chairman Oktay Vural. He dismissed the CHP call on Gül to resign. “Why will the president resign? It’s not correct to prevent Gül’s right to re-election,” he said.

In a separate development, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for having taken all state institutions under its control.

“We are faced with a new understanding of the status-quo. Those who came to power by promising change and transformation created their own status-quo. The AKP has transformed the state institutions into its own partisan institutions,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a party meeting.

Turkey’s current state structure was “the system of the AKP,” he said. “There is no justice, law and transparency in this system which feeds on fraud, poverty and injustice. Our struggle is not easy. We are confronted not only by a political party, but also by AKP’s governors, judges, prosecutors and public servants.”