Turkey constitutional amendments give all power to one man: CHP leader

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Leader of Republican People's Party (CHP)

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that the proposed constitutional amendments will make the parliament ineffective and turn it into a “second-class” parliament.

“This parliament was formed after the War of Independence. This parliament is the parliament of the July 15 coup attempt. Now this parliament is becoming a second class parliament. Ask our citizens if their conscience will allow them to accept it? Neither my conscience, my morality, my belief, nor my democratic values can accept this,” the opposition leader said at his party’s internal meeting today.

“The parliament will be out of touch with the people. Increasing the number of lawmakers in parliament from 550 to 600 has no sense,” he added.

Kilicdaroglu also compared the constitutional draft with Syria’s current constitution and stated that it will put all authority in the hands of a “one-man regime”.

He stressed that the matter extends beyond party politics. “This is not about this or that party, but about coexistence, the flag, the homeland and democracy,” he said, adding that his party members should refrain from marginalising anyone, “it doesn’t matter who one is, as long as democracy is vital to them”.

He urged his party supporters to talk with people about the constitutional amendments in an ethical manner and not quarrel with them.

The opposition leader wanted party members to ask citizens what changes these amendments would bring and solve.

Kilicdaroglu criticised the government for not having informed the public during the parliamentary voting sessions on the constitutional reform package, saying that the sessions were not broadcast on TV for people to follow.

“The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members revealed their intentions to change the four initial articles of the constitution during these discussions”, Kilicdaroglu claimed.