Kılıçdaroğlu says AKP trying to cover up corruption with constitutional amendment

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), gives a speech during the parliamentary group meeting of his party at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on January 17, 2017. AFP

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on Tuesday that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to cover up the crimes and corruption of its rule over the last 15 years by giving all power to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by means of amendments to the constitution.

In series of tweets on Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu underlined that the people of Turkey must reject the constitutional amendment when it is put to a referendum.

Those who love their country and have a conscience must oppose the constitutional changes. We cannot destroy the future of our children and Turkey,” he said.

He also added that the purpose of giving all power to Erdoğan aims to cover up the AKP’s crimes and corruption in last the last 15 years of its rule.

The 18-article package will cripple the rights of Parliament and expand the powers of the president to an unprecedented level. With the proposed changes submitted to Parliament by the AKP and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the president will be vested with the power to dissolve Parliament.

Article 8 of the package allows the president to enjoy expanded executive power, turning the presidency into the most powerful institution in the country, as well as the ability to independently promulgate laws, in the process bypassing Parliament. Article 7 will allow the president to maintain official affiliation with a political party.

Several fights had taken place during the voting after main opposition CHP deputies objected to ruling AKP deputies showing their ballots to party officials, which is against parliamentary bylaws.

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.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said if the constitutional amendments are passed by Parliament, Turkey would hold a referendum in April.

After Parliament makes its decision [about the proposed amendments], the best thing to do is to go to a referendum in the shortest time possible. Most probably, a referendum will be held in early April,” Kurtulmuş recently said during an interview on the A Haber news channel.

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