Turkish opposition leader backs Yes vote in referendum

Nationalist Movement Party head Bahceli says he will back President Erdogan over Turkish Patriotic Party Chairman Perincek

Turkish opposition leader backs Yes vote in referendum

World Bulletin / News Desk

The leader of Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has voiced support for constitutional reforms in the upcoming referendum in April.

Speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Tuesday, Devlet Bahceli said: “Yes for nation, yes for the state, yes for the republic, yes for the perpetuity of 'Turkishness'."

Bahceli denied his party was following the line of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"They ask how come we follow the AK Party and the president. We do not follow anyone.

“But the days when we will catch and grab by the nape of the neck the draft dodgers [from Turkish military] who are in Qandil [in Iraq] and [U.S. city of] Pennsylvania are close by," he said.

The MHP head said Turkish Patriotic Party Chairman Dogu Perincek and his followers were previously shooting their guns at Turkish nationalist idealists (known as "ulkucu") but now they were nearly trying to preach to them the same ideology of Turkish nationalism.

He said if his party had to choose between Perincek and those who would say No in the referendum, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it would definitely choose Erdogan.

On Jan. 20, lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and MHP voted in favor of a new constitutional reform package.

Two opposition parties -- the People’s Republican Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) -- remain opposed to the proposed changes.

Aside from the change to an executive presidency, other reforms include allowing the president to maintain party political affiliation.

There will be changes to Turkey’s highest judicial body, which would be renamed while retaining its independence and own budget. It also sets 2019 as the date for Turkey’s next presidential and parliamentary elections.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Şubat 2017, 13:52