Politcs Turkey

Turkish Parliament approves launching of constitution talks by 338 votes

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Turkey’s parliament will formally launch debates on a constitutional amendment package that will usher in a powerful presidential system after lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) passed a motion through parliament.

The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday night approved the first article of a constitutional amendment package that will bring an executive presidency and end the parliamentary system of governance in the country.

The amended article, passed with 347 votes in favor and 132 against, added the words “and impartial” as well as “independent” to Article 9 of the existing constitution, in reference to the judiciary.

There has been strong opposition to the constitutional amendment package over fears of one-man rule in Turkey as it grants extended powers to the president.

Among the objections to the changes, the former president of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay), Professor Sami Selçuk, wrote in an op-ed that a constitutional amendment package that is currently under debate in Parliament clearly aims to concentrate power in the person of the president and eliminate the separation of powers.

Penning an article for the Cumhuriyet daily on Monday, veteran jurist Selçuk said the proposed changes are even worse than the already antidemocratic 1982 Constitution, which was drafted under a military junta.

According to Selçuk, anyone who is literate can easily understand that the constitutional amendment would entrust all power to the president, close off the path to checks and balances and bring a concentration of powers in one person.

With the proposed changes submitted to Parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the president will be vested with the power to dissolve Parliament.

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