The constitutional amendments to be voted on in April will turn the president into a “one-man ruler” but “checked by parliament,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, rejecting opposition claims that the system will cement authoritarian rule in Turkey.
“The [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP leader says the president will also be the same as the governor, the district governor, the mayor. Come on! An issue cannot be distorted so much! Yes, the president will be one man. But he will be elected by the people. And parliament will control him on behalf of the people,” Yıldırım told his parliamentary group on Feb. 28.
Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the Feb 28, 1997 process, which led to the toppling of the democratically elected government through military pressure, Yıldırım said those who staged the Feb. 28 intervention and who attempted July 2016 coup “had the same objectives.”
“Turkey has arrived at its current point through struggles against tutelage,” he said, stressing that the latter attempt in 2016 was foiled “thanks to the strength of the Turkish people.”
“Now this people will go to the ballot box. They will say ‘yes’ in order to make tutelage regimes and coup plotters history,” Yıldırım said, repeating his call for voters of all political parties to vote in favor of the amendments on April 16.
“This is not a political issue. This is something about the country. This is not about you and me, but the entire nation. Vote yes for this reason,” he said.
Turkey will go to a referendum in mid-April to vote on an 18-article constitutional change that will bring about a shift from the current parliamentary system to an executive presidential model.