Turkish president proposes ‘conference call’ with stakeholders for new constitution

Turkish president proposes ‘conference call’ with stakeholders for new constitution

Turkish president proposes ‘conference call’ with stakeholders for new constitution

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in a quest to find new ways to create a new constitution, has proposed “conference calls” with as many people as possible to provide a strong ground for “societal agreement.”

Speaking at a press conference after his Istanbul arrival from an official visit to Saudi Arabia late Dec. 31, Erdoğan was asked to elaborate on his earlier remarks concerning “conference calls.”

The president said conference calls were originally done by academicians or people with experience or knowledge on a particular issue. These calls could be arranged in a way that could be held with citizens, he said, making it into a “kind of public survey.”

 In the conference calls, “…the citizen’s view of a particular article of the constitution will be asked,” Erdoğan said, for example. According to Erdoğan, the citizens chosen for the conference call would number more than 500,000, thus creating “very significant ground for the composing of a constitution on which a societal agreement could be ensured.”

Earlier in December, the president thought to hold two referendums on the creation of a new constitution and a transition to a presidential system. Yet opposition parties called Erdoğan’s proposal unrealistic, claiming it was a just another maneuver by the president to make his aspirations for a “super-president” position come true.

Nobody can claim that presidential systems are perfect, Erdoğan said in response to questions. Yet, despite certain inconveniences, presidential systems function more successfully than parliamentary systems, he added.

“In a vast majority of developed countries, we see this system or semi-presidential system or partisan-president system. The existing system in America is a kind of partisan-president system…The president does not break off his relationship with his party. He has his party behind him,” he said, while reiterating that a presidential system would enable Turkey to take much “stronger steps.”