Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized the executive system change in Turkey, saying that the system has become completely dependent on the “arbitrary decisions of one man” after the government, cabinet and Prime Ministry have been abolished following elections last month.
Speaking at his party’s first parliamentary group meeting following the June 24 elections on July 17, Kılıçdaroğlu called the new system a “dictatorship.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was re-elected as president in the June 24 elections. The elections came a year after Turkish voters, on April 16, 2017, narrowly approved switching the country’s governance system to an executive presidency in a referendum, handing sweeping powers to the president. The new system came into full effect after Erdoğan’s inauguration July 9.
Kılıçdaroğlu said his party would not acknowledge the 2017 referendum and this year’s elections as “legitimate,” arguing that the elections were held “unfairly.”
“The constitution of 1982 was changed after 92 percent of voters said ‘yes’ in a referendum. But was it held under fair conditions? [Former Chief of General Staff] Kenan Evren put pressure on ‘no’ voters while staunchly supporting the ‘yes’ votes,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to a 1982 referendum held by the military rule which had come to power after a bloody coup on Sept. 12, 1980.
“Everybody knew that that constitution was not legitimate. Your constitution is also illegitimate,” he said, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
He described the new executive presidential system as an “arbitrary one-man rule,” adding that “it is an administration which will not be held accountable.”
“There is no cabinet, no minister. All of them are their [AKP’s] officials. Which minister can dare argue with Erdoğan? He would be sacked instantly if he did. Because this is a one-man rule,” he said.
He stressed there was no vote of confidence. “Why would there be? All of the authority has been given to one man,” he added.
The CHP leader said the new system also lifted parliament’s and lawmakers’ authority to question ministers in parliament and were removed from having a say on the budget.
“In 1982, when citizens were asked whether they wanted to change the constitution, 92 percent of the voters said ‘yes.’ Our number was 8 percent then. Today, we are at least 50 percent. We are stronger. We will never bow to a dictatorial regime,” he said.
“The struggle will be both in parliament and outside parliament,” he said.
CHP criticizes draft bill in parliament
The CHP also criticized a draft bill submitted to the parliamentary assembly on July 17, which seeks to lift the ongoing state of emergency after bringing new legislative measures.
In a written statement on July 17, CHP deputy group leader Özgür Özel claimed the bill “aims to make the state of emergency rule permanent” by legislating state of emergency decrees.
He said the bill proposes to extend the length of keeping a suspect in detention for up to 12 days. The Turkish government has been under fire for allowing the detention of an individual without judicial control for up to 30 days under the state of emergency.
Özel also slammed the new authorities granted to governors, who will be able to prohibit the entrance and exit of certain individuals to their provinces and impose state of emergency in their regions.
Gülizar Biçer Karaca, another deputy leader of the CHP, said the bill gave power to governors to ban rallies in their provinces whenever they deemed necessary.