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Turkey: Erdogan rejects criticism of presidential system

'An elected president cannot become a dictator or a one-man,' says Turkish president about ongoing presidential system debate as parliamentary polls loom.

25.03.2015 - Update : 25.03.2015
Turkey: Erdogan rejects criticism of presidential system


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed speculations that a new presidential form of governance will turn Turkey into a dictatorship or a one-man state.

"Know this: An elected president, who will answer to his people for every one of his actions, cannot become a dictator or a one-man (state)," Erdogan told a trade meeting in capital Ankara on Wednesday.

The Turkish political scene has been debating whether the country needs a presidential system, a move strongly backed by the government and Erdogan.

Erdogan was the prime minister and chairman of the ruling AK Party for 12 years until August 2014, when he was elected president of Turkey. Since his campaign days last year, he has been pushing for a far-reaching constitutional amendment to allow for a new presidential system in Turkey.

On Wednesday, the president repeated his call for 400 Members of Parliament to form a large enough majority in the house to legislate the drafting of a new constitution for Turkey, which would include the presidential system.

Erdogan's remarks regarding the presidential system and his interest in other political topics have been mildly controversial, with critics taking as reference the decorum of the traditionally symbolic office of presidency. In response, Erdogan said he did not want to be a "passive" president.

Turkey is approaching parliamentary elections in June 2015. A constitutional amendment or a new constitution is needed to set up a presidential system in Turkey. The country's current constitution was drafted two years after a military takeover in 1980 and numerous amendments have been made to it since then.

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