Turkish PM calls for constitutional reform after presidential election ruling

[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] Wednesday said he would push for constitutional amendments to change Turkey's system for electing its president. Under the proposed amendments, the president would be elected by a direct vote rather than chosen by parliament. The announcement is an attempt to calm political tensions after the Turkish Constitutional Court voided [JURIST report] a parliamentary vote in support of Erdogan's presidential candidate, Islamist-leaning Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul [official website], because a quorum of legislators did not participate. Erdogan accused the Court of hurting democracy in its decision and said he would support dissolving parliament and holding an early parliamentary election to ensure that Turkey's leaders were chosen by the people rather than the courts. The announcement came just as the Turkish parliament prepared to vote on holding elections as early as June 24.

In the last week, about 1 million protesters have marched [JURIST report] in streets of Istanbul to protest Gul, the nation's only presidential candidate and a member of the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder]. Critics have accused Gul of harboring secret plans for Islamist reforms to Turkey's strongly secular state. The Turkish army, which has ousted four presidents in four decades and regards itself as the guardian of the secular constitution [text], has also warned against instituting any Islamist reforms. Bloomberg has more. The Guardian has additional coverage.

 

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