New Constitution to usher in culture of political consensus building: Erdoğan

Published 13.04.2017 22:48

A new presidential system will promote a culture of political consensus in Parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.

Speaking in northern Ordu province, President Erdoğan responded to criticism of the presidential system as "single-man rule," saying that contrary to the assertions of opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the proposed constitutional amendment package will put a "political consensus" at the core of the new system. He continued by also citing the election of judges to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) as an example of the need for political consensus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also touched upon the issue on Wednesday, saying that the proposed changes are not only for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) but it will also favor all political parties, promoting effective political processes and efforts to serve the people. The prime minister noted: "I am sure the way to become an [effective] government will be be opened for anyone seeking to work, struggle and reach goals to win people's hearts. The path has been cleared for all that embrace Turkey; however, the road to becoming a single-headed government is closed to those who advocate segregation, regionally or ethnically based partisanship, or politics based on a specific religious group." Speaking in the province of Izmir, Yıldırım emphasized that the new system of government will shut down the channels of divisive politics and open the way for unity to grow.

Erdoğan emphasized that the new system does, in fact, have more accountability placed on the president, by allowing Parliament to conduct open investigations against the president for various crimes. "Under the current system, the president can only be sued for treason. However, the new system envisages giving the General Assembly the right to open an inquiry regarding any crime," he said.

Under the existing system, the judicial authorities, including the Constitutional Court, cannot be resorted to in cases of appeals against decisions and orders personally prescribed by the president. The president can only be sued for treason and be found guilty with a three-fourths' majority parliamentary vote. However, the new system envisages giving the General Assembly, which will discuss the proposal for one month at the least, the right to decide to open an inquiry for any crime via secret ballot by a three-fifths majority against the president.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said regardless of the result and voters' "yes" or "no" choice in the referendum, Turkey will embrace all of its citizens, while stressing, however, that people should remember that terrorist groups, including the PKK and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), are working hard for a "no" outcome.

Erdoğan also urged citizens to participate in the referendum, calling for a high voter turnout. "You should ask every person you know to encourage everyone to vote. A single vote is very precious. Just one vote can determine a country's future," he said.

He also drew attention to the country's counter-terrorism fight, saying Turkey has been taking measures to entirely annihilate terror groups in the country. "We started a sweeping campaign against the PKK terrorist organization, the Gülenist Terror Group [FETÖ] and the far-left People's Liberation Party-Front [DHKP-C], in order to clear them not only from streets but also from state institutions. However, this struggle has been carried out under the frame of the rule of law," he said.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu recently said recruitment for the PKK over the past six months has decreased by at least 90 percent compared to the previous year. The minister also revealed that during the same period, some 14,684 PKK suspects were detained in counter-terror operations, of whom 2,611 were later arrested.

President Erdoğan said Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield to "break the terror siege," and sweep terror groups like Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) out of the region. "Operation Euphrates Shield was launched after the deadly suicide bomb attack in Gaziantep. It began with the liberation of Jarablus, then continued with Dabiq and al-Bab. We don't have an eye on anyone's land; the liberated areas will be returned back to those victims of terror. Let the world understand it; Turkey will not allow terror groups to create new states on the other side of our borders," he said.

Ankara launched the cross-border Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24 last year to secure Turkey's southern border. The operation ended March 29, as officials announced that more than 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of land in northern Syria had been liberated from Daesh, more than 2,500 terrorists were killed and that some 100,000 refugees living in the Gaziantep province are now expected to return to the liberated areas.

Meanwhile, the Founders Council of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has said "yes" vote would be the right choice for the future of the country's independence and freedom. In a statement published by the council, support was given for the MHP administration's support of the "yes" vote.

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