Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Turkey set to vote on more powers for president

Melinda Barton | 11 February, 2017, 00:29

Turkey has reached an important crossroads on the way to changing its governmental system, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday, adding that the Turkish people would weigh in on this proposed change on April 16.

Mr Erdogan's ruling AK party argues that Turkey's current fragile economic and security situations needs strong leadership, but opponents have already voiced fears about the authoritarian nature of the bill.

Ankara accuses Gulen of orchestrating an attempted coup in Turkey last July.

"The system we will bring is different because the president will be an active member of a [political] party with the new system", he explained.

The reform would give the President the authority to annul Parliament, issue decrees, declare an election as well as emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials - powers that the two main Opposition parties say strip away balances to Erdogan's power.

Amendments to the Constitution got more than 330 votes in the Turkish Parliament, which is the minimum number of votes needed for holding a referendum.

Turkey has already removed or suspended more than 125,000 people and formally arrested 40,000 since the attempted coup during which rogue soldiers tried to overthrow the government and Erdogan, killing more than 240 people, majority civilians.

"With the president's approval, eyes are now on the YSK (High Election Board)".

"Everyone - those who say "yes" and those who say "no" will express their views", he said.

The amendments, if passed, would vastly increase the Turkish president's authority.

"Can Turkey be dragged into an unpredictable adventure?"

But there have been suggestions that the clock on his presidency will start from zero from 2019 as the new constitution creates a new presidential role.