Turkish PM says Turkey does not need a PM, mocks opposition leader

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has mocked the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, over his remarks on the 16 April constitutional referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be replaced by an executive presidency.

On 6 March, Kilicdaroglu said problems could occur in the proposed system “if the prime minister and the president don’t agree,” when in fact there will be no prime ministerial post in the proposed executive presidential system.

“Let’s assume that we formed the new model. The people elected the president and the prime minister became someone else. The president will be from one party and the prime minister will be from another party. Then fights will erupt. We need to think about that,” Kilicdaroglu said.

Mocking CHP leader Kilicdaroglu for his aforementioned statements, Yildirim said that “they should thank Kilicdaroglu for explaining the problems in the current system.”

“We are trying to tell the people about the constitutional changes, but actually we need to thank Kilicdaroglu. He explained what we couldn’t in a very beautiful way. He said, ‘If the prime minister and the president are from different parties and if they don’t get along, what will happen?’ That’s exactly what we’re saying. The current system causes this,” Yildirim said during a ceremony held in the western province of Izmir on 8 March, adding that the proposed system removed the “probable conflicts and the debate on authority.”

“Kilicdaroglu isn’t aware that the system is changing; maybe he was tired. With the new system, the presidential elections will no longer cause crises in Turkey,” Yildirim added.

Turkey will hold a referendum on 16 April to decide whether to shift the government system into an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the president or to keep the current parliamentary system.

The ‘yes’ vote is endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the CHP and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are campaigning for a ‘no’ vote.

In a later speech on the same day again in Izmir, Yildirim claimed Kilicdaroglu was unaware of the proposed changes.

“It’s obvious that he doesn’t know what changes are being proposed. The changes are being made in order to solve the problem he actually mentioned. The prime ministry and the presidency will be joined together in this system. There will be a single president and his deputy, but there won’t be any prime minister. You vote for the president, his deputies and the ministers. You don’t leave it to the parliament, you decide on who will govern the country directly. This is the beauty of the new system,” claimed the current prime minister.