Turkey’s constitutional change ‘good’ for region: PM

Turkey's prime minister says the country's long-debated constitutional change would be good for the region.

Binali Yildirim, addressing the parliament’s general assembly late on Monday, said:

"Turkey has significant responsibilities in the region. Thus, we have to be powerful and have strong political stability.

“We will achieve it with this constitutional change."

The country's current constitution dates back in parts to Turkey’s military regime of the 1980s.

Yildirim asserted the changes his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is proposing would "completely solve the political problems".

On Tuesday, the parliament will start debating the articles of a landmark bill one by one to decide whether to vote them into law.

The government has been seeking to replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential one, saying there are flaws in the system that hold back Turkey’s development.

After a parliamentary committee on the matter — including deputies from all parties — broke up earlier this year, a committee was assigned within AK Party to work on a draft constitution.

Party officials repeatedly called on opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) to support efforts for a new constitution.

The draft constitution has so far received support from MHP, but not from CHP.

The government plans to put the amendments to a public referendum even if it gets the necessary votes in parliament to avoid the need for one.

"The nation is the judge to solve all kinds of [political] problems," Yildirim said.

By Ayşe Humeyra Atilgan


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