Turkish citizens will say ‘no’ to regime change: Main opposition head Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish citizens will say ‘no’ to regime change: Main opposition head Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkish citizens will say ‘no’ to regime change: Main opposition head Kılıçdaroğlu

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The Turkish people will certainly vote against the constitutional shift, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has vowed, saying the referendum campaign of his party will focus on “embracing all segments of society” affected by the government-supported amendment to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system.

“We are ready [for the referendum]. The result will be ‘no.’ I’m sure of that. No citizens of any country would want their elected representatives to become second-class politicians. They would not want the parliament, where the public will is represented, to be annulled by another person. They do not want any tutelage over their own will,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Turk on Jan. 31. 

The CHP head reiterated the opposition’s criticism of the constitutional amendment for dismantling the principle of separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary.

“If there is no separation of powers in a country, there is no constitution in that country. If this arrangement goes like this, nobody will have the safety of life and property,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“We will be giving all the authorities to one person, but no one will be able to inspect this … The lack of supervision of the state would lead to conflict,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for giving insufficient details of the amendment. 

“Why we are changing the regime now? You [the AKP] have been in power for 15 years. Is there any law that you have not been able to legislate in 15 years? No. Is there a decree that you have not been able to issue as a Council of Ministers? No. So why is the country this way? What was the obstacle?” he said.

“The country has so many problems. Which problem will this constitutional amendment solve? Will it solve unemployment or provide stability?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, slamming the AKP’s main argument that in the current parliamentary system the parliament and the cabinet form two executive bodies, which causes problems. 

“By claiming that they ‘are lifting the two-headed [system],’ they are creating chaos,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“If the amendments pass, there will be a one-party state. That is the danger. If a political party becomes a state, the institution that we called the state will cease to exist,” he added.

‘Campaign will embrace all of Turkey’

The CHP head also stressed that his party’s referendum campaign would “embrace all segments of society.”

“It concerns 80 million because the constitution concerns all of us,” he said, adding that the campaign should not be built solely on criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“The problem is that the public has not been informed properly. Citizens think Erdoğan’s supporters say ‘Erdoğan wants it so we will do it,’ while those who don’t like him will say ‘no.’ But actually this has nothing to do with Erdoğan,” he said.

“This is not a matter of Erdoğan, the CHP, the AKP or the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP. It is a matter for 80 million. The referendum is for a regime change, not a party election,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

“That’s why we will not use any party banners in the campaign, there will only be the Turkish flag,” he added.