MHP leader slams fresh debates on Turkey’s presidential system

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The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, has slammed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for its calls to take Turkey to another referendum asking people whether or not they want the president to be nonpartisan.

“Reopening a debate on the [governance] system will not help our country, nation and democracy,” Bahçeli said on July 2 at his party’s parliament group meeting.

Turkey will not turn back from the new presidential system, he noted.

Turks had narrowly voted in favor of giving the president sweeping powers in a referendum in 2017, changing the country’s governance system from a parliamentary one to a presidential one.

Bahçeli criticized some members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for publicly discussing the efficiency of the current presidential system.

The MHP will back legal and administrative reforms to strengthen the current presidentialsystem, he said, while adding that criticisms by these members were understandable but they “should only be made behind closed doors.”

“Whatever is needed will be done to strengthen the presidential system over the next four years, the election-free period,” he said, stressing that an early election was not on the agenda and the next polls will take place on time, in 2023.

Speaking about reports that former Economy Minister Ali Babacan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu were working separately on setting up new parties, Bahçeliindirectly said these figures were “once at the heart of the AKP.”

Turkey does not need a new party, but the determination to “carry on in its path,” he said.

The establishment of new parties will only add them to a “cemetery of newly formed political parties.”

“For some time now some names who once served as prime minister suddenly began to speak out, preparing to create [new] public opinions. It is strange and contradicting that these figures that were once at the heart of the AKP are now criticizing the party,” Bahçelisaid.

Bahçeli also praised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks during a G20 summit in Japan on possible U.S. sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian defense system. “His announcement that such sanctions will not be imposed is very positive,” said Bahçeli.

“According to us, even if the U.S. president’s attitude and messages to Turkey are affirmative, we must stand by our dignity and be ready for every contingency,” he stressed.

The U.S. could “easily forget its promises, this is a known fact,” said the MHP leader.

Hurriyet Daily News

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