Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed a constitutional amendment promising drastic changes to the executive system by ushering in an executive presidency, saying lawmakers who say “yes” to the amendment will be betraying the public.
“Those who say ‘yes’ to this will be betraying the citizens who voted for him/her,” Kılıçdaroğlu said Jan. 10 in an address to his party group.
“They are giving the authority to annul the parliament, which represents 100 percent of the people, to a president who was elected by 51 percent of the votes,” he said.
“It is a treason to the public will,” he added, calling on citizens to oppose the amendment.
“I call out to all citizens. If you respect what is right, you will oppose this constitution,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also asked whether Turkey could be delivered to just one person. “Is Turkey such a small country? Whoever that might be, we are against this system,” he added.
Criticizing police attacks on people protesting the constitutional amendment in Ankara with water cannon and tear gas on Jan. 9, Kılıçdaroğlu said constitutional change could not be accomplished in such an environment.
“Changing the constitution in such an environment”
“There is a state of emergency. Nobody can speak due to fear. Anyone can be arrested at any moment. All the belongings of the people can be confiscated at any moment,” he said.
“The constitution will be amended, but there are TOMAs [a water cannon security vehicle], trucks around the parliament building. What happened? Is there a war? We are changing the constitution in such an environment” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Universities, rectors, law faculties and bar associations cannot speak. Yesterday the president of the Ankara Bar Association was going to make a statement [outside of the parliament], but they act like it’s the apocalypse. In this environment, we say we will change the constitution,” he said.
“State of emergency decrees disabled parliament”
“With the state of emergency decrees, they used authorities which are not granted to them by the parliament,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, criticizing the decrees.
“Parliament has been disabled. Even during the Sep. 12, 1980, coup d’état period, this did not happen,” he added.
“The judiciary has been completely handed over to political power. I regret that even the Constitutional Court was handed over to the government,” he said, referring to the constitutional amendment that will allow the president to appoint 12 members of the 15-member Constitutional Court.
“Can this member be impartial?” he added.
“July 20 was a civil coup”
“Why are they doing it now?” he said, asking why the party which has been in power for 14 years would want to change the constitution now.
“After each coup, the putschists changed the constitution. They are doing the same thing now,” he said, reiterating his earlier comments on the date of the declaration of the state of emergency July 20, describing it as “a civilian coup.”
“They would like to secure their own future with this constitutional change. They think that we will forget their corruption and violations of human rights,” he said.