Erdogan signals no let-up in push for stronger presidency

"Our target should be to acquire at least a majority to establish the new constitution. I don't believe that you will compromise on this," he said.

Erdogan signals no let-up in push for stronger presidency

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish president-elect Tayyip Erdogan urged his ruling AK Party on Thursday to work for a stronger parliamentary majority next year to enable them to re-write the constitution.

Erdogan secured his place in history as Turkey's first directly elected head of state on Sunday, taking him a step closer to the presidential system he covets for the European Union candidate nation and NATO member state.

"I said before that the presidential elections would be the starting gun for the 2015 (general) elections," Erdogan told a meeting of AK Party provincial leaders in a speech broadcast on Turkish television.

"Our target should be to acquire at least a majority to establish the new constitution. I don't believe that you will compromise on this," he said.

Erdogan will have to break formal links with the AK Party he founded 13 years ago once he is sworn in as president on Aug. 28. He wants a pliant successor as leader of the party, likely also to be his next prime minister, in order to secure a stronger parliament majority in polls next June.

He dismissed suggestions that the party he has dominated ever since could crumble without him, saying it drew its strength from the Turkish people.

"Those who thought our party would decline or fall apart have always been wrong," he said.

"We have gone through challenging times in these 13 years. We have resisted, driven back, turned upside down all attacks on us. We have always been mandated by the people."

Should his influence over the party wane, Erdogan could struggle to force through the constitutional changes he wants to create an executive presidency - a reform which requires either a two thirds majority in parliament or a popular vote.

The AK Party currently holds 313 of parliament's 550 seats, a strong majority but below the crucial two thirds threshold.

In his first major speech since declaring victory in Sunday's election, Erdogan vowed to continue his battle with U.S.-based figure Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of seeking to overthrow him.

Erdogan accuses Gulen's supporters in the judiciary and police of contriving a corruption scandal which burst into the open last December as part of a plot to undermine him.

Thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges and prosecutors have been reassigned in a purge of Gulen's influence since then, with Erdogan accusing what he calls a "parallel structure" of a "vile betrayal" of Turkey.

"It's an organisation that threatens our national security. We have new evidence, new files," he said on Thursday.

"(Their) targets are not Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his family, his colleagues, his friends. Their target is our independence, our flag, our country and our people."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Ağustos 2014, 17:35

Muhammed Öylek

YORUM EKLE