The Kurdish-question focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced its readiness to discuss replacing the current constitution with a new pro-freedom charter, but has categorically rejected changing Turkey’s administrative system to a presidential one in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions.
“We are ready to discuss a new and pro-freedom constitution. The new constitution is a big opportunity for resolving the Kurdish question. It is also an opportunity for resolving the problems of Alevis and the problem of [freedom of] faith. Is our sole issue [adopting the] presidential system while all these questions exist?” stated HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş over the weekend.
Demirtaş recalled that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had not proposed any specific model for the presidency so far.
“The only thing they propose is a one-man model and a one-man system. Administrative systems can of course be changed, but not through a fait accompli or the imposition of such a one-man system under the title of presidency. We can’t say yes to this,” he added.
A discussion over the presidential system has been revived after the AKP’s election victory last week, along with calls for the renewal of the constitution. With its 317 seats at parliament, the ruling party still needs at least 14 additional lawmakers to be able to take the drafted charter to referendum, and the three opposition parties are all against endorsing the presidential system.
Demirtaş’s fellow HDP co-leader, Figen Yükksekdağ, also reiterated her party’s stance on the issue, saying they will continue struggling for a resumption of stalled talks over the settlement of the Kurdish issue.
Accusing the government of creating a “terrorized environment” before the elections in a bid to increase its votes, Yüksekdağ also criticized efforts for the presidential system.
“The presidential system means nothing but reinforcing the 92-year-old republic with a more authoritarian and fascist understanding,” she said, vowing that the HDP would not allow this to happen.