Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has described the upcoming referendum as a vote that will shape Turkey’s “road map for a century,” calling on his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) local organizations to “campaign non-stop” until referendum day.
“We have a lot of work to do. It is a huge task for us all. The referendum will determine not only Turkey’s present day but also whether its road map for a century will be in the hands of the people of the nation,” Yıldırım said on Feb. 8 in an address to AKP provincial heads in the capital Ankara.
Denying that the constitutional amendment will bring about “regime change,” he criticized the opposition for building its argument on such a “threat.”
“The republican system remains untouched but changes to the administrative system are long overdue. The solution is the presidential system. Turkey has no regime problem. Turkey’s regime was determined in 1923 after Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his friends declared the republic following the War of Independence,” Yıldırım said.
“It is not possible to understand that the main opposition party is repeatedly saying there is a regime problem to confuse people. But the people do not pay any heed to this,” he added.
Yıldırım also thanked Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for his support for the constitutional change, saying the MHP had partnered with the AKP in preparing the charter.
“On this matter I would like to thank the MHP leader and MHP deputies once again for the patriotism they showed,” he added.
Instructing provincial heads to “study the 18-article charter and memorize every item of the amendment,” Yıldırım said the AKP would build its campaign on “explaining the constitutional change.”
“With our 14 years of experience, we know that the presidential government system is a change that people expect,” he added.
“In the current system, the people elect the parliament and deputies but they cannot decide who will govern the country. After elections there is monkey business in parliament,” Yıldırım said.
“[The people] will decide who will be the government, who will be the president. Once [the people] give the authority, nobody will be able to step in and manage on behalf of them,” he added.