Turkey's parliamentary system in the waiting room, says President Erdoğan
AA photoTurkey’s existing parliamentary system has been in the waiting room to be replaced by the presidential system since the last year’s presidential election, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, reiterating his demand for “400 lawmakers” in the June 7 general election to make this change possible.
“We made our first step for the new term of our history as a Republic through the presidential election last year. Turkey’s president was elected directly by the people. The parliamentary system is now in the waiting room. The first sign of the new Turkey was given on Aug. 10, . Now we have more elections on June 7. We should turn these elections into an opportunity for the new constitution and presidential system on the path to the new Turkey,” Erdoğan said on March 29 in an address at a public meeting in Istanbul.
“Are you ready to give 400 lawmakers?” he asked, again implying the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) without directly naming it.
Erdoğan repeated his claim that Turkey needs a “rapid decision-making system” for continued growth.
“This is not something I’m asking for myself. This is the only way to secure the future of the Republic of Turkey, our state,” he said, recalling that the Turkish Republic was the last of the 16 states Turks have founded throughout history.
“As the world changes, as the conditions change, the states and their people should also change, renew them and move forward. People fall behind if they try to keep the status quo while others move forward. In its 92 years, Turkey fell behind after coups. We lost a lot of opportunities. But now this period of coups and tutelage is over,” Erdoğan added.
In recent months, Erdoğan has insistently repeated the need to adopt the presidential system in Turkey under a vague model that he calls “the Turkish model.”
The ruling AKP needs to secure at least 367 seats to change the constitution in the elections. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Erdoğan’s successor as chairman of the AKP, recently said adoption of the presidential system will find a place in the party’s election manifesto, which will be announced around mid-April.
Fight against the ‘parallel structure’
Erdoğan also addressed the government’s ongoing fight against the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, which the government claims is a “parallel structure” within the state aiming to topple the democratically-elected government.
Recalling that two police officers, suspects in the case of wiretapping at Erdoğan’s office, have been deported to Turkey by Romania after they fled the country, the president vowed that the struggle will continue without any hesitancy.
“You imams! Why are you escaping? These imams are not the ones we pray with. They are different kinds of imams. If you are not guilty, why are you leaving the country?” Erdoğan asked, in reference to police officers who are believed to have left the country recently after government raids on them.
“You were an employee close to the prime minister. Since when have you been spying? Why are you running away? We told you that we’ll find you wherever you are hiding. Well, you escaped to Romania and you have been caught there,” the president said.