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Prime minister: Government to finalize constitutional amendment

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday that his party is finalizing a constitutional amendment that would introduce an executive presidency, long a goal of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Yıldırım stated that he would meet with the nationalist opposition to discuss the details. Only a day before, Mustafa Şentop, head of the parliamentary Constitution Commission and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) İstanbul deputy, said the AKP would bring a proposal to Parliament to amend the constitution in the next 15 days.

“We will meet one more time with [Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet] Bahçeli and give this change its final shape,” Yıldırım announced on Tuesday in Parliament.

If the MHP lends its support to the AKP, a constitutional amendment enabling a switch to a presidential system of governance will be possible in Parliament.

Bahçeli earlier said “significant progress” had been made in their talks and that he believed the bill could be sent to the Constitution Commission after ironing out a few issues.

Turkey’s ruling AKP and President Erdoğan strongly support a switch to a presidential system in Turkey. Yet critics say he wants a “Turkish style” executive presidency without checks and balances, one that is aimed at creating one-man rule.

Late in October Prime Minister Yıldırım announced that his government had completed work on a change to a presidential system from the current parliamentary system and would take a proposal to Parliament as soon as possible. MHP leader Bahçeli had sparked a fresh debate over the introduction of an executive presidency when he said Erdoğan was already acting like an executive president although his post is largely ceremonial.

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