Turkey’s Current System Pits Father Against Son

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım vowed on March 1 support for the shift to an executive presidency, saying the current system “pits father against son.”

Referring to past disagreements between presidents and prime ministers, Yıldırım said at a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) referendum campaign rally in the northern city of Amasya that such discord “stems from the malfunctioning of the system, which is why it needs to change.”

The prime minister arguing that currently the “cabinet forcibly influences parliament” to pass certain legislation, but the constitutional amendment will ensure the separation of executive and legislative branches in order to overcome this influence.

“Parliament is under cabinet pressure,” he said, arguing that relations between the president and the executive would inevitably cause problems.

Encouraging the crowd to chant “yes” many times throughout his speech, Yıldırım slammed opposition criticism that the changes would reinforce authoritarian rule in Turkey as a “complete lie.”

“The main opposition claims that with the changes parliament will become ineffective and the duties of parliament will be restricted. On the contrary, parliament will be stronger. In the current system, all the decisions that the government wants are made. But with the new system you tell the government to mind its own business, only parliament will pass legislation,” he said.

“They also argue that the president will annul the parliament whenever they want … This is another lie. There is no such thing as annulling the parliament. Let’s assume that there is a disagreement between the president and the parliament. The president will have the right to call an election. And parliament will also have the right to renew elections,” Yıldırım said.

“Yes there will be one man, but the nation will be more powerful,” he said, adding that the president will be elected by a majority vote in elections.
‘All 79 million people are honorable’

The prime minister also slammed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, claiming that he slandered “yes” voters in earlier speeches.

“Kılıçdaroğlu said ‘go to the ballots and say No with dignity, pride, and honor.’ Do you mean that if we say Yes our honor, pride and dignity will be harmed? Shame on you!” Yıldırım said.

“My citizen, all 79 million of you, whether you say Yes or No you are honorable, dignified and proud. Whatever decision you make is welcome,” he added.

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