Shortly after a Cabinet meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli arrived at the gates of Çankaya Palace in Ankara to meet Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in an effort to address critical topics including, foremost, the presidential system. In the wake of the bloody failed coup attempt on the night of July 15, Turkey's political agenda has begun to move over to the possible transition to a presidential system of government.
Switching from a parliamentary system to a presidential system has been a hot topic in Turkish politics since former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the country's first president elected by public vote in August 2014. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said last week that the need for a new constitution in Turkey has become an urgent matter under current circumstances, underlining that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will soon present the proposal, which includes the presidential system, to Parliament. According to prime ministerial sources on Monday, the presidential system, which includes the establishment of a new constitution to replace the existing one that was drafted after the Sept. 12,1980 coup, topped the agenda of the prime minister and the MHP leader.
As Ankara discusses possible models for the presidential system, which include a semi-presidential and a party member presidential system, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş spoke at a press conference following Monday's Cabinet meeting in which he urged political parties to vocalize their stance on the debates, stressing the importance of the meeting between Yıldırım and Bahçeli. "At the end of the day, politics are a matter of potentials. The AK Party does not have the potential to establish a new constitution on its own or even the majority it needs for a public vote. Thus, we will try to come together toward a common understanding with other parties regarding the presidential system," Kurtulmuş said, stressing the AK Party's support for the presidential system.
Bahçeli previously stated that there was a "de facto situation" in Turkey, pointing to Erdoğan having been elected as president by the public and calling on the government to "bring their proposal for a presidential system to Parliament." Bahçeli went on to say, "If [the bill] receives 330 votes in favor [of the presidential system], the people would have to make a decision. We will respect the people's decision." Kurtulmuş also made reference to the de facto system while speaking to members of the media, saying that it is necessary to end the "two-headed" system.
In addition to the presidential system and new constitution, the two leaders also addressed the ongoing Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) investigation as well as the extended state of emergency. Sources from the Prime Ministry also addressed the latest terror attacks across Turkey, including the recent Gaziantep suicide bombing attack that left three police officers dead and eight people injured. Prime Minister Yıldırım also provided MHP leader Bahçeli with the latest information and developments on Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria while addressing the recently launched Mosul operation against Daesh.
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