President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again reiterated the need for a systemic change in Turkey’s governance, underlining that his aspiration for a presidential system had nothing to do with his personal prosperity.
“My duty as the president is to pave the way for the progress of my country and nation in every field and supporting efforts to this aim. Of course, it is the constitution which designates limits of my authority but my responsibility is certainly to my nation,” Erdoğan said on Dec. 17.
“While we are saying ‘New Turkey,’ ‘new constitution’ and ‘the presidential system should be discussed,’ we are not at all saying these things by considering our own personal prosperity,” Erdoğan said, while addressing people during a collective opening ceremony in Konya.
He traveled to the Central Anatolian province in order to attend the Şeb-i Aruz (Night of Union) ceremony to commemorate the 741st anniversary of the death of Jalaladdin Rumi (Mevlana) in the evening.
Erdoğan recalled how his career started when he was elected mayor of the country’s largest city, Istanbul, in 1994 and how he became the president of the country in the first ever popular vote for this post in August 2014.
“What more can a person ask for?” he asked, in a bid to strengthen his point that his aspiration had nothing to with his personal ambitions.
“But I have a concern over the better governance of this country and my nation and their march toward bigger goals. Turkey can no longer proceed on its way with this system,” Erdoğan said. “There is no need to be a legal expert to see this fact,” he said.
“I believe that no party and no politician can remain indifferent for so long when our nation strongly displays its will for a new constitution. If they remain indifferent, then they would pay the price. Inshallah [God willing], we will all together bring Turkey to its 2023 goals,” he said.
Recently, Erdoğan floated the idea of holding two referenda on the creation of a new constitution and a transition into a presidential system. Yet opposition parties gave the cold shoulder to Erdoğan’s proposal, calling it unrealistic and a new maneuver by the president to make his aspirations come true through a different method.
Meanwhile, for his part, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu apparently felt the need to underline that any system change should not lead to a “hybrid system” in which responsibilities are muddled.
“At the moment, the party which I founded [the Justice and Development Party - AKP] is the ruling party and Ahmet Bey [Davutoğlu], with whom I have had a camaraderie for years, is the prime minister. Despite this, it is us who insist on transformation, change and a New Turkey,” Erdoğan said, noting however opposition parties haven’t asked for such a change. “There is something wrong here. It is because they don’t have a concern for the country and the nation,” he said.