Erdogan Bill boosting President's power going to Turkey paliament

Erdogan was the country's first directly elected president in August 2014, having been prime minister since 2003.

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday a bill expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power would be brought to parliament next week play

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday a bill expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power would be brought to parliament next week

(Turkey's Presidential Press Service/AFP/File)
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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday a bill expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power would be brought to parliament next week, just months after the leader survived a coup attempt.

"We will submit our proposal for constitutional reform to the Turkish national assembly next week," Yildirim told journalists in Ankara.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), co-founded by Erdogan, proposes to change Turkey's parliamentary system into a presidency, like that of France or the United States.

The country is also still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his alleged supporters from all state institutions.

Yildirim said any changes would be put to the people in a referendum in "early summer" if "everything goes well" and it is approved by the parliament.

Erdogan was the country's first directly elected president in August 2014, having been prime minister since 2003.

During his time as president, he has transformed what was usually a more ceremonial post, concentrating powers in what opponents have said is a violation of the existing constitution.

Officials often say the bill, which would change the constitution, would legalise what has become a de facto situation.

For the bill to pass, it needs 330 votes from the 550-seat assembly to put any changes to the constitution -- which dates back to the 1980s -- to a public vote.

While a super-majority of 367 votes are needed to approve the changes without public consultation, the government has repeatedly said that even if it were to get that number, they would hold a referendum.

The AKP currently falls below the number needed to go to a referendum, with only 317 seats including the speaker Ismail Kahraman.

To make up its shortfall, it has been chasing the support of the fourth-largest Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has 40 MPs in the assembly.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) have repeatedly said they would oppose the reforms but MHP support would be enough to go to a vote.

Yildirim made his remarks during a press conference with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli after the two men met to discuss the changes.

Bahceli told reporters that the 90-minute meeting had gone "positively", suggesting the MHP could give its support and enough votes for the bill to pass.

"This proposal will surely be a text that has been agreed with or negotiated and then come to be agreed on with the MHP," Yildirim added.

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