Turkish president approves constitutional change bill, referendum expected on April 16

Erdogan Turkey at crossroads over system change

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved on Friday constitutional amendments that will bring drastic changes to Turkey's political system, including a shift to an executive presidential system from the current parliamentary system. "God willing, Turkey will start a new era on the evening of April 16".

The post of prime minister, now held by Erdogan loyalist Binali Yildirim, would be replaced with one or more vice-presidents.

Kurtulmus expressed his hope that this election campaign will continue in line with the mature democracy of Turkey.

The parliament passed the constitutional amendment on January 21 in two rounds of voting for 18 articles. "We believe that our nation will substantially say "yes" to this proposal".


Critics say it would concentrate even more power in the hands of a leader they accuse of authoritarian behavior with little tolerance for dissent.

If approved by the Turkish voters, it may pave the way for President Erdoğan to stay in power until 2029 as he would have the right to stand in the presidential elections for two more terms under the new constitution.

NAN recalls that on Jan 19, the two largest opposition parties in parliament say the 18-article bill, which could enable Erdogan to rule until 2029, will fuel authoritarianism in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and European Union candidate country. Lawmakers will only be able to supervise ministers and the government with written statements, since the motion of interpellation will also be abolished. Out of 13 members, four will be appointed by the president, while the justice minister - who will be appointed by the president - will be the chair of the board and the undersecretary will be a permanent member.

The main opposition has accused Erdogan - seen as increasingly autocratic after 14 years in power as both prime minister and president - of trying to decapitate parliament.

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