President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli at the presidential palace in Ankara on Thursday amid ongoing debates about the introduction of an executive presidency and reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey.
Their meeting lasted for an hour and was closed to the press. MHP sources said the invitation came from President Erdoğan.
The Erdoğan-Bahçeli meeting came at a time when Bahçeli sparked a fresh debate last month over the introduction of an executive presidency when he said there was a de facto situation in Turkey concerning its system of governance and that President Erdoğan was already acting like an executive president even though his post is largely ceremonial. Bahçeli said the situation needed to be resolved.
Bahçeli’s remarks were interpreted as supporting a switch to an executive presidency, and Justice and Development Party (AKP) government officials have said they will bring a proposal for a change to an executive presidency to Parliament in January and present it in a referendum in April.
Erdoğan is a strong supporter of an executive presidency.
Bahçeli also responded to a recent call from Erdoğan for the reinstatement of the death penalty and asked the government to join forces to bring back capital punishment.
Erdoğan said on Saturday that legislation to reinstate capital punishment, which was abolished in 2004, will soon be taken to Parliament by the AKP.
In response to Erdoğan, Bahçeli said on Tuesday: “If the AKP is ready [to bring the death penalty back], the MHP is already ready. I am telling Mr. Prime Minister, come on, let’s finish this job together. The MHP will do what is necessary if the proposal or draft on the death penalty comes to the parliament floor.”