The Turkish Parliament on Thursday night approved the sixth article of a constitutional amendment package that will bring an executive presidency and end the parliamentary system of governance in the country.
The sixth amended article strips the legislature of its right to check the executive branch and revokes the right of the Cabinet to issue decrees. The article was approved in the General Assembly with 343 in favor and 137 against. Two deputies abstained and one vote was invalid.
There has been strong opposition to the constitutional amendment package over fears of one-man rule in Turkey as it grants extended powers to the president, and Parliament has been the scene of altercations between Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies over the past several evenings.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed opposition parties that object to a constitutional reform package seeking to introduce a presidential system in Turkey, saying on Thursday that they should “know their place.”
Among the objections to the changes, the former president of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay), Professor Sami Selçuk, wrote in an op-ed that the constitutional amendment package currently under debate in Parliament clearly aims to concentrate power in the person of the president and eliminate the separation of powers.
Penning an article for the Cumhuriyet daily on Monday, veteran jurist Selçuk said the proposed changes are even worse than the already antidemocratic 1982 Constitution, which was drafted under a military junta.
According to Selçuk, anyone who is literate can easily understand that the constitutional amendment would entrust all power to the president, close off the path to checks and balances and bring a concentration of powers in one person.
With the proposed changes submitted to Parliament by the ruling AKP and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the president will also be vested with the power to dissolve Parliament.