Turkish PM proposes change to army law

Now Reading:

Turkish PM proposes change to army law

Text size Aa Aa

The Turkish prime minister has said he might amend an army law that opponents say could encourage military coups.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was addressing a rally in southeastern Turkey as he began campaigning ahead of a referendum on constitutional reforms.

The plans involve changing the make-up of the courts and reining in the power of the military.

The prime minister told supporters the changes were necessary to bring Turkey’s constitution into line with other European countries.

However, critics suspect him of trying to tighten his party’s control of state institutions after almost eight years in power.

A law known as Article 35 states that the army’s role is to “watch over and protect” the country. It has been used to justify military intervention in the past, and there are fears it could be used again. Erdogan said it could be put before parliament for revision.

The governing party has often seen the military as an obstacle to democratic reforms. For its part, the army has been suspicious of a government with Islamist roots.

Last week nearly 200 people were charged with trying to bring about a military coup.