May 11 2018

Erdoğan decree plan sparks opposition protest

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants the cabinet to impose key legislation by decree ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 as he seeks to introduce a full presidential system of government after the vote.

Opposition parties in the assembly are opposing the move, approved by a parliamentary commission on Thursday, saying it is unconstitutional.

The cabinet will be empowered with harmonizing legislation in line with a decision approved in a controversial nationwide referendum in April 2017 that gives the president increased powers and puts an end to Turkey’s parliamentary system of government. The cabinet would make changes to laws on the president’s executive authority, as well as redefining the roles of institutions, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Erdoğan and his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) are seeking to introduce a full presidential system for Turkey, saying it will make government more effective and allow the country to better deal with security threats. The move is opposed by opposition parties, whose candidates in the presidential election are vowing to maintain the dominance of parliament over executive decision-making.

The constitution requires that legislative changes be put to parliament, after which they are considered by parliamentary commissions before a full vote in the main assembly.

“This authorization has no limit … The authorities outlined by the constitution should not be violated. We are lifting tradition of thousands of years. Who will replace the prime minister?” main opposition Republican People’s Party deputy Bülent Kuşoğlu said, according to Hurriyet.

The measure is necessary because presidential and parliamentary elections have been brought forward, giving no time to parliament to enact the legislation ahead of the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.

“There is no possibility of referring these changes to parliament, assessing them in the commissions and discussing them in the General Assembly,” he said. “That is why it was not an option for the government, it was a necessity.

“We are not taking the authority to do something that is not stipulated in the constitution. The usage of the authority will be supervised by the Constitutional Court. After the president-elect takes an oath, presidential decrees will be enacted and the new system will work perfectly without any problems in the working of the state. The system in Turkey has changed,” Bozdağ said.