Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once more called on the elected national assembly of the country to prioritize drafting a new constitution and debate over a transition into a presidential system, as he suggested the current parliamentary system has actually been nourishing “bureaucratic oligarchy.”
In a speech delivered during a regular meeting with a group of neighborhood and village heads (muhtars) at his presidential palace on Dec. 23, Erdoğan particularly referred to a period of time between June 7 and Nov. 1. As the June 7 parliamentary elections did not yield a single-party government and coalition talks led by Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu failed, Turkey went to snap polls on Nov. 1, in which the AKP, founded by Erdoğan, won a landslide victory.
“In my opinion, our parliament and our political parties being represented there will not be able to remain indifferent anymore to this issue, which grew into an open and powerful demand of our nation. And I expect from you, the muhtars, to bring this issue up in the presence of both our nation and politicians from all political parties and share your thoughts with them,” Erdoğan said.
“The present governance system in our country is very problematic, troubled and controversial,” Erdoğan said. “What happened in the meantime?” he asked, referring to the months between the June 7 vote and the Nov. 1 vote.
“Virtually, the bureaucratic oligarchy has displayed a manner against the elected,” he said.
“Given that it is being implemented by the world’s most developed states, the presidential system must have a special feature. If so, why are we all scared of it, abstain from it, run away from it? The problem is something else. On this issue, the grand national assembly of Turkey will be the prior decision maker and then our nation,” Erdoğan said.
Earlier this month, the president floated the idea of holding two referenda on the creation of a new constitution and a transition into a presidential system. Yet opposition parties gave the cold shoulder to Erdoğan’s proposal, calling it unrealistic and a new maneuver by the president to make his aspirations come true through a different method.
Meanwhile, for his part, Davutoğlu apparently felt the need to underline that any system change should not lead to a “hybrid system” in which responsibilities are muddled.