Commission approves article extending president’s authority during times of emergency

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on December 29, 2016.

The parliamentary Constitution Commission on Thursday approved an article amending the Turkish Constitution drafted by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and supported by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that extends the authority of the president during states of emergency including the power to limit rights and freedoms.

According to the approved 13th article, which governs the authority of the president during states of emergency, the president will be able to issue decrees limiting basic and political rights, which was not included in the first version of the amendments when they were proposed by AKP deputies in early October.

The approved article also adds a call to national mobilization by the president as being among the reasons to declare a state of emergency in Turkey.

In November, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli promised Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım his party would support the AKP government when the constitutional amendments were submitted for parliamentary approval, including a switch to a presidential system of governance 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.

AKP officials recently said that 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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