Turkey’s President Erdogan is grabbing yet more power

Speaking in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the assembly’s early-morning decision.
Turkey’s prime minister congratulated his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s deputies for passing new constitution changes on Saturday.The ruling party says a presidential system would enable the country to surmount a broad array of internal and external security threats.Turkey’s president has started campaigning for constitutional reforms that would greatly expand the powers of his office, hours after a vote in parliament cleared the way for a national referendum on the issue.The initial round of ballots on the reforms was completed after each passed with more than 340 votes.The 62-year-old Erdogan has been seeking to empower the presidency since his election in 2014, after more than a decade as prime minister.

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The reform will allow the president to declare emergency, appoint or remove ministers, dissolve parliament and issue decrees, according to Reuters. The number of MPs who voted against the bill was 142. Turks will have the final say in a referendum that could be held in early April.With Turkey already under a state of emergency for nearly six months after the 15 July failed coup, the changes will also widen the scope of conditions in which the president can declare an emergency. “The odds that President Erdogan will be able to achieve a formal, full executive presidency through a referendum on a new constitution are favorable”, Anthony Skinner, a director with United Kingdom -based forecasting company Verisk Maplecroft, said in a report published earlier this week. Erdogan points to a danger from Islamic State and Kurdish militants.The president would decide whether or not impose a state of emergency.”In both the United States and France, you have strong checks and balances on the power of the president, but according to the Turkish model that is outlined in this amendment, you don’t have any such check on presidential power”, she told AFP.A change to the presidential system would be a crowning achievement for Erdogan, who has outmaneuvered and crushed all his major foes. If the reforms are approved, Turkey plans to hold presidential elections in 2019 and the victor would be eligible to remain in office for up to two five-year terms.