Erdoğan advisor says Turkey to have only 2 political parties under presidential system

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Burhan Kuzu

Burhan Kuzu, an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy from İstanbul, said on Wednesday that there will be only two political parties in Turkey when the country switches to a presidential system of governance.

Speaking during a TV show on Habertürk TV on Wednesday evening, Kuzu said the two parties will be the AKP and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), raising questions about the future of the other opposition parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in the Turkish Parliament.

There will be two parties [in the presidential system in Turkey]. One is the AK Party [AKP]; the other is the CHP,” Kuzu said.

Early on Wednesday Kuzu had tweeted that the MHP will always have a voice in state governance since it has supported the ruling AKP on a draft constitution that aims to switch Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance.

Raising questions among Twitter users about whether or not the MHP would participate with the AKP in a presidential system, Kuzu said: “In a presidential system [in Turkey], the MHP will always have a voice in state governance. Everyone must know this. Hate-mongers are at work. But [their efforts are] pointless.”

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have arrested hundreds of local pro-Kurdish HDP politicians and more than a dozen deputies including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ since November. In addition, trustees were appointed to the administrations of hundreds of HDP municipalities across Turkey after investigations were launched into HDP politicians on charges of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s promise in November to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to support the AKP government when a draft constitution is submitted for parliamentary approval, the CHP objected, claiming the draft constitution aims to switch to a presidential system in Turkey.

Prior to his meeting with Yıldırım, Bahçeli also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the presidential palace in Ankara amid ongoing debates about the introduction of an executive presidency and the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey.

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 AKP government officials said they would bring a proposal for a change to an executive presidency to Parliament in January and present it in a referendum in April.

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