Turkey's AKP seeks to soothe concerns on charter

Turkey's AKP seeks to soothe concerns on charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys AKP seeks to soothe concerns on charter

Deputy PM Bekir Bozdağ insists that Turkey’s parliamentary system is faltering.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday sought to ease concerns that it would unilaterally push for the introduction of a presidential system, pledging that it would seek consensus on all the issues that Parliament’s constitution-making commission is set to discuss.

“We want consensus on the new constitution. If the Commission decides [on a presidential system] that would be OK, if not it would be OK too. According to the agreement we have reached, all issues will be decided by consensus. Those who say that the AKP is floating these ideas in order to force others in the Commission are wrong,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who reignited the debate this week, told reporters.

Bozdağ insisted however that Turkey’s parliamentary system was faltering and that shifting to a presidential system should be seriously discussed in the name of more political stability.

Parliament’s cross-party Constitution Conciliation Commission is scheduled to begin work today on penning down the draft of a new constitution. Basic rights and freedoms will be the first chapter to be discussed.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also maintained that the presidential system should be debated, but said he did not see such an overhaul as a must. “We need to discuss everything without any worries. Who will make the decision in the end of the day? Our people. Efforts for a new constitution are under way at the moment. A presidential or semi-presidential system will be discussed as part of these efforts. Whether it becomes a part of the new constitution is another question,” he said late Tuesday.

The main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP), however, raised more vocal objections to the idea, arguing that Erdoğan was seeking authoritarian rule. AKP calls for a presidential system reflect Erdoğan’s desire “to get himself a throne and a sultanate,” CHP deputy chairman Erdoğan Toprak said in a written statement. “This would open the door not to democracy, but dictatorship,” he said.