The Turkish parliament voted on Tuesday to press on with debate about a constitutional reform package that would expand the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan, taking another step on the path towards an executive presidency. Mia Womersley reports.
Turkey's parliament has voted to press on with a controversial debate to reform its constitution. If adopted, the proposals will expand the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan and get him one step closer to an executive presidency. Erdogan and his supporters argue that Turkey needs this sort of strong leadership, saying an executive presidency would prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past. The prime minister insisting it would resolve the problem of Turkey having two executive authorities, saying "Two captains sink the ship, there needs to be one captain". But Erdogan's opponents fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism. If changed, Erdogan would be able to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party, and govern until 2029. The initial vote was passed with 338 in favour and 134 against. Debate on the individual articles will start on Tuesday (January 10). The ruling AKP plans to finish this by the 24th January. A referendum is expected by the spring.