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77 retired ambassadors warn against perils of executive presidency

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Seventy-seven retired Turkish ambassadors have warned that the introduction of an executive presidency in Turkey could spell the end of a democratic, secular country governed by the rule of law.

Among the retired ambassadors are prominent figures such as Şükrü Elekdağ, Korkmaz Haktanır, Faruk Loğoğlu, Mustafa Akşin and Candemir Önhon.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) along with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has brought a constitutional reform package to Parliament for approval, introducing an executive presidency in Turkey.

Releasing a statement, the retired ambassadors said: “If the [constitutional] proposal comes into effect, Turkey will lose its characteristics of a democratic, secular country governed by law. We are concerned that at a time of terror acts, economic problems and threats of war, such a development will make Turkey more polarized and drag it into more serious problems.”

The AKP, backed by the MHP, is pushing through the legislation that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.

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