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Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party: We Fulfilled our Promise in Referendum | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a rally on April 8. (Reuters)

Ankara – Mehmet Gunal, deputy leader of Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party, asserted that his party has fulfilled its pledges and supported the constitutional amendments until they gained the support of the majority of the people voting in Sunday’s referendum

He criticized to Asharq Al-Awsat those who claimed that the Nationalist Movement Party followers did not vote “yes” in the referendum, which led to the slight margin in results, with 51.4 percent voting “yes” and 48.6 percent voting “no”.

The referendum won by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take Turkey from the parliamentary to the presidential system.

Gunal also criticized announcements made by some Justice and Development Party leaders, saying: “The Turkish people have said their word and the Nationalist Movement Party has done what it should do. The president and prime minister have thanked us for our role in approving the constitutional amendments and what we care about as a party is the interest of the nation, not a specific person. The presidential regime is necessary for the strength and stability of Turkey.”

Gunal also voiced his support for Erdogan’s announcement that he will study the possibility of restoring the death penalty in Turkey.

On Europe’s threats that it may halt negotiations on Turkey joining the European Union if the penalty is restored, he remarked: “The EU should deal with Turkey out of partnership and not focus solely on benefiting from it in the refugee file. It should abandon its hostile approach towards Turkey just because it is an Islamic country.”

He added that the people have said their final word and his party “will continue to support the decisions that serve the interest of Turkey, its people, economy and society. It will also oppose wrongful decisions seeing as it an opposition party, whose role is to correct the government’s mistakes and shed light on them.”