Turkey, Politics

Prime minister prioritizes new constitution for Turkey

Ahmet Davutoglu says current constitution does not fit Turkey as ruling party revives calls for presidential system

02.11.2015
Prime minister prioritizes new constitution for Turkey Turkish PM and AK Party Chairman Ahmet Davutoglu

Ankara

ANKARA  

The Justice and Development (AK) Party is to pursue constitutional changes to enhance the role of the president, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed in his post-election victory speech Sunday.

“It is obvious that the current system does not meet the Turkey’s needs. This shirt is too tight for this country,” Davutoglu said.

The AK Party has sought to turn Turkey from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential system since party co-founder and former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan became president in August last year.

Although it regained its parliamentary majority in Sunday’s election, it appears to be 14 seats short of the number needed to push through a referendum on constitutional reform.

However, Davutoglu indicated it would be a priority during the coming parliament.

Speaking on the balcony of the AK Party’s headquarters in Ankara, he called for a new “civilian and libertarian constitution” to replace the current model, which was written following the 1980 military coup.

He said the new charter should make provision for a “healthy electoral system, a transparent and efficient government structure, for a Turkey in which the bureaucracy does not impede politics”.

In an appeal to the whole country, Davutoglu said his government would seek to unify the nation and remove “all kinds of polarization, all kinds of conflicts and all kinds of tensions”.

The AK Party won 316 seats at the Grand National Assembly in Turkey's second general election in five months. The June 7 poll saw no party win a majority and coalition talks failed to produce a government.

Davutoglu said: “Don’t worry, we took your message. We understood very well the message that you gave on June 7 and the one you gave today.”

He added: “We have major goals. We have great dreams about this country. We will work day and night to implement these big goals and big dreams.”

Lambasting “social engineers, media barons, terror supporters”, the premier said Turks had “smashed all the plots against Turkey” in a reference to the 2013 Gezi protests and corruption investigations.

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