Turkey: Parliament Debates Controversial Constitutional Amendments

Turkey (2)Turkish lawmakers begin debate on the amendment of the constitution this Tuesday following the approval of the controversial amendment package by the parliament.

Eighteen articles are concerned and their adoption is expected to “solve the problems that may arise in the future and the conditions in our country” according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. He told the lawmakers that “there can be no administration without a will” and the constitutional reform would help to “completely solve the political problems.”

The country’s main opposition party, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) have strongly criticized the amendment plan saying that it will reinforce the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

MP Deniz Baykal of CHP said the amendment package is “a project that is being prepared hastily and is far from legal and political maturity.” He lamented that it will “destroy” Turkey’s political tradition, institutions, culture and “substitute the sovereignty of the nation with the hegemony of one person.”

The ruling Justice and Development party (AK) argues that the presidential system will strengthen the country’s government because the post of Prime Minister is dragging the process.

Yildrim said “Turkey has significant responsibilities in the region. Thus, we have to be powerful and have strong political stability” which can be achieved with “constitutional change.”

Opposition HDP lawmaker Meral Danış Beştaş labeled the proposed amendments as a “civilian coup” staged by the AK party. She added that it is a “parliamentary coup” that is serving as an extension of the failed 15 July coup d’état.

The constitutional amendment is expected to be subjected to a referendum after being approved by the parliament. President Erdogan’s critics accuse him of using the failed coup momentum to make himself an executive president.

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