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Erdogan Seeks to Strengthen His Presidential Grip After Removing His PM | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outlined the next phase for Turkey in the first statement that he made after removing Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu from the political scene.

Erdogan announced yesterday that the presidential system is “an urgent requirement” which means that the next prime minister must make this endeavour a top priority. He stressed the need for presidential reform to be put to a public referendum yesterday. The Turkish President wants to switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one and is urging for a referendum because it is difficult to amend the constitution in the Turkish parliament. Despite the AK party having a comfortable majority to form a government, Erdogan is still not able to achieve his objective.

Erdogan stressed the need to present this matter for consideration at the earliest opportunity in order to “achieve stability and secure the future of the coming generations”, and for the sake of “those who have pinned their hopes on a strong Turkey”. Erdogan said that “the new constitution and the presidential system are not related to personal matters, but it is an urgent demand that Turkey’s current status which has been achieved after many experiments necessitates”. Many observers believe that Erdogan seeks to strengthen the presidential grip with this step.

The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan called on people not to worry after the prime minister announced his intention to step down from his position as leader of the Justice and Development Party and stressed that the ruling party will not allow problems to occur in the country or within the party. At the same time, the mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara Melih Gökçek denied rumours of a rift between the president and the prime minister by saying that “the Justice and Development Party is free from disputes, and Erdogan sat down with Dovutoglu and they both respectfully made the decision. We are not required to do anything but work with the decision that was taken”.

On the other hand, President Erdogan refused to reform Turkish anti-terrorism legislation in response to the European Union’s request to do so in exchange for exempting Turks from visas. In a speech in Istanbul, Turkey’s President said “the European Union is requesting that we reform our anti-terror laws. In this case we say “we’re going our way, you go yours”.”