President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been campaigning for a switch to an executive presidency by means of a referendum on April 16, claimed on Friday that he does not want the change in system of governance for himself.
“I am not so lacking in character as to ask for this system for myself,” Erdoğan said during an opening ceremony for a facility in the heartland Anatolia province of Kahramanmaraş.
However, right after claiming that the transition to an executive presidency, which will vest the president with unprecedented powers, was not part of his personal ambitions, Erdoğan added that he has been planning for such a system since his term as mayor of İstanbul in the 1990s.
“The executive presidency has been a project of mine,” Erdoğan told the people, adding that he would wage a campaign for a “yes” vote in the referendum with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
In response to calls for restoring capital punishment from people attending the opening ceremony, Erdoğan said the first step is taking care of the referendum.
Earlier, Erdoğan had said that the naysayers are taking sides with the plotters of an abortive coup on July 15, 2016.
Critics say Erdoğan will officially be a one-man regime with unchecked powers if the change in system is realized in Turkey.