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Turkish opposition strive to prevent more power accruing to Erdogan

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By Euronews
Turkish opposition strive to prevent more power accruing to Erdogan

In Turkish polling on Sunday, if the ruling AK Party gets more than 55% of the votes, it would mean at least 330 members taking seats in parliament.

An absence of checks and balances is against the nature of parliamentary systems.

These AKP MPs plan to strengthen the country’s presidential office by reforming the constitution. The opposition all but accuse President Erdogan of megalomania.

None of the main opposition parties, the HDP, CHP and MHP, support the constitutional reform project. Their goal in this election is to prevent the AK party, which Erdogan co-founded, from getting an absolute majority.

Even within the AKP there are critics of the reform project.

Our correspondent in Turkey spoke to political expert Haluk Alkan, a professor at Istanbul University.

Bora Bayraktar, euronews: “One of the most important discussions of the June 7th elections surrounds revamping the presidential system. The president and the prime minister say this is needed. In your opinion, why?”

Haluk Alkan: “First of all, this is systemic. We have had a problem in our political system since the 1961 constitution. We are not, in fact, discussing a move from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. I mean, it is not as if we have an established parliamentary system and that some people want to transform it into a presidential one. That’s wrong. Our parliamentary system has never been institutionalised. This is worth noting.

“The 1982 constitution especially gives the president extraordinary authority which is not normally inherent in parliamentary systems. The president has been designated as a figure who controls the state agencies, in a paternalistic way, without checks and balances, intervening in government affairs at will. This is against the nature of parliamentary systems.”

euronews: “There is also debate surrounding the risk of Turkey becoming an authoritarian system, and the possibility of a deteriorating balance between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. Do you agree there is such a risk?”

Alkan: “I think it would be wrong to say this will produce an authoritarian regime for the Turkish people. Governments that are in office for a long time, after all, permeate the institutions regardless of whether a state operates a presidential, parliamentary or semi-parliamentary system. If you are in government for 20 years and control the parliament, you can decide the laws, who is in the judiciary and everything. This is a problem for all systems. It is the way the delegation of democracy works. This is a problem of democracy, and not the presidential or parliamentary system. People’s long-term support of a certain political idea may produce this result. But democratic dynamics can restore things.”