Erdoğan’s spokesman: Turkey may hold referendum on executive presidency

Todays Zaman
Publication date: 
Nov 04 2015

Turkey may hold a referendum on changing the constitution to create an executive presidential system and discussions on the issue will accelerate in the period ahead, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spokesman said on Wednesday.

İbrahim Kalın was speaking three days after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) clawed back a majority in a general election, a triumph for Erdoğan, whose ambition for stronger presidential powers rests on the AK Party controlling parliament.

"An issue like the presidential system can't be decided without the nation. If the mechanism requires a referendum, then we will hold a referendum," he told reporters.

"The executive presidency is not a question of our president's personal future. He has already entered the history books. The basic motivation is to make the system in Turkey as effective as possible."

Kalın indicated little change in Turkey's foreign policy following Sunday's election, saying its "open-door" policy to refugees from Syria would continue whether or not it received assistance from the European Union.

Turkey is under pressure from the EU, which it aspires to join, to do more to keep refugees on its soil and help stem the biggest migration movement the continent has seen since World War II. The EU has proposed financial aid and faster membership for Turkey in the hope of winning its help.

Kalın also said Turkey's fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants and against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would continue "with determination". The struggle against terrorism and the migration crisis would be discussed at a G20 leaders' summit in Turkey later this month, he said.