Turkey is set to go to polls for both the parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, 2018. In last year's referendum, our nation voted in favor of a major constitutional reform package aimed at replacing Turkey's parliamentary system with a presidential one.
A number of amendments introduced in the package, particularly those related to the formation of a presidential system, will be effective following this summer's elections. With those amendments, Turkey will have a presidential system based on the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches similar to various examples of presidential systems around the world.
The installation of the new presidential system will empower not only the executive branch but also strengthen the legislative and judicial branches in a bid to ensure a well-functioning mechanism of checks and balances as required by the fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law. Turkey deals with a myriad of problems in an unstable region plagued by sustained civil strife, armed conflicts, humanitarian disasters and socio-economic turmoil.
Combined with a series of failed states in our region, this situation creates safe havens for terrorist organizations – from Daesh to the PKK and their affiliations like the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People's Protection Units (YPG) – in our immediate vicinity. This has been the case with our Syrian border and it poses a direct threat to the security and well-being of our nation and country.
Turkey has been the number one country that has felt the adverse effects of the ongoing civil war in neighboring Syria. We host more than 3 million Syrian refugees, and break our bread with them. It is a requisite for us to do so because we're a nation that holds humanitarian values very dear, and we pursue an open door policy for all those fleeing persecution regardless of their religious, ethnic or sectarian backgrounds.
In recent years, Turkey has faced a number of attempts by the now-fully-uncovered Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) to overthrow the democratically elected government and our president. The failed military coup of July 15, 2016 was the latest such attempt by this dirty and shadowy terror group and it was foiled by the Turkish people who took to the streets upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call on that night to protect democracy and the future of our nation. Putting their bodies in the way of tanks, they thwarted the heinous coup attempt with their bare hands.
Turkey is now fighting all these terrorist groups simultaneously, and hundreds of our innocent people, including hundreds of security officers, have lost their lives due to attacks and the failed coup attempt perpetuated and conducted by these terrorist organizations. To protect our nation and democracy in the face of such unprecedented threats, the government has declared a state of emergency in 2016 following the failed coup attempt. Every country has the right to take extraordinary measures to protect its people and democracy just like France and Turkey did in the wake of coming under attack from terrorist groups and considering the gravity of threats they face. France remained under the state of emergency for almost two years, and the French presidential elections in 2017 were held with the state of emergency still in effect.
As a fast-growing country with a significant young population, Turkey has very ambitious development goals for the next decade, and that's why it needs a smoothly and swiftly functioning system that will guarantee political stability in the long term. Turkey needs this transition also to cope with troubles caused by its highly unstable region that will most likely remain unchanged in the years to come.
Despite some ups and downs in politics, Turkey has had an exceptionally reputable track record of conducting free and democratic elections since the inception of multiparty democracy in the early 1950s. This is a fact also confirmed by impartial election observation missions dispatched by relevant international bodies.
Turkey has an established multiparty democracy with the required mechanisms that ensure the reflection of the free will of our nation in elections. Measures taken as part of the current state of emergency in Turkey are only directed toward terrorist groups and their operatives, and official authorities are exerting painstaking and meticulous efforts to keep our citizens' daily lives unaffected by these measures. The government is taking every necessary precaution to ensure the security and transparency of the coming elections. Our friends must be assured of this and the future of democracy and rule of law in Turkey. We hope to forge stronger mutual cooperation with our friends in the years ahead with the hope of a fairer, more prosperous and free world.