Labor Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has defended the constitutional amendments to usher in an executive presidency, criticizing the opposition for arguing that the changes will cause further division in the country.
“We are giving the conscience of this nation, the public, the authority to elect its own president. We are going through a period in which the national republic will be represented more, where the destiny of this nation will not be decided easily behind closed doors,” Müezzinoğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 31.
He criticized the opposition for arguing that the charter amendments will transfer excessive power to the president, violating the principle of division of power and dividing the country.
“The stance of the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP is not on the side of the nation. Saying ‘the country will be divided’ is threatening the nation. I have been saying for four or five years that the party that paves the way for the division of this country is the CHP itself,” Müezzinoğlu said.
“There is no reasonable explanation for [the opposition’s objection]. We are delivering the republic to the public. The public chooses its president. I interpret opposition to this as fear of the values of the public,” he added.
The constitutional amendment package passed in parliament on Jan. 20 with majority votes to bring the change to a public vote. The package is now waiting to be submitted to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for approval, with the referendum date scheduled for 60 days after the date of the signature.
The date is expected to be either one of the first two Sundays of April.