Turkish ruling party has high hopes for year of elections

Turkish ruling party has high hopes for year of elections

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish ruling party has high hopes for year of elections

‘We will work more than those who try to spread lies,’ Prime Minister Erdoğan tells his party’s local heads. DHA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday revealed the details of his 2014 plans, the year when local and presidential elections will take place, stressing that he wanted the ongoing peace process to be completed by that year.

“2014 will be an election year, where the critical results for Turkey will be taken. Firstly, the local elections will take place in March, while the presidential elections are expected to take place at the middle of the year according to our Constitution. Again in this process we expect to hold a referendum on the new Constitution. A very busy program awaits us,” said Erdoğan, speaking at a meeting in Ankara’s Kızılcahamam neighborhood with members of his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial and district branches.

He also said the ongoing process to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue would be completed by 2014. “We will complete the process - which we call the solution process - and we will remove a great obstacle to the economy, democratization, and domestic and foreign policies,” Erdoğan said.
“We will work more than those who try to spread lies. If we don’t work 10 or even 100 times more than those people, then we will be unsuccessful. If they reach one person, we must reach 10 or 100 people,” he said.

‘President not king’

With regard to the debate over the presidential system, Erdoğan said the president in a presidential system was “not a king” and called on his party members to explain this to the people. “The president in the presidential system is not a king, but some ignorant people are lying by attempting to represent the president as a king,” he said.

“There is no parliamentary democracy in presidential systems? Who is saying this? The leader of the main opposition … Isn’t there a Parliament in the U.S., or Russia? In America, they have both the Congress and the Senate,” Erdoğan said, adding that former presidents - late Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel - had also brought the presidential system onto the agenda in the past.

“This is not a system we are unfamiliar with. The Ottomans lived it. The most developed countries are practicing it too,” he said in his televised speech.

The prime minister also repeated his strong criticism of the two main opposition parties, which have accused the ruling party of negotiating with the terrorists. “The [Republican People’s Party] CHP, which calls itself patriotic, has become a tool of the Labor Party [İP]. The MHP, so-called nationalists, has become the spare part of the İP,” he said.