People’s Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen has made clear the party prefers Turkey’s current parliamentarian system to the presidential one, adding every issue should be open to debate.
“We recommend [Turkey’s current] parliamentarian system. We believe that a parliamentarian system will move democratization forward. But, tabooing the text of the constitution, or any approach such as, ‘We don’t discuss the presidential [system], this and that,’ will not comply with a democratic constitution process.
Everything can be discussed; Change in the world, by science and mind, everything can be open to discussion without sanctifying,” daily Cumhuriyet quoted Bilgen as saying on Nov. 4.
“Every model, including the presidential system, can be discussed. But, there is no room for a freedom-restricting structure such as a one-man [model]. That’s not what the society needs.” he said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s long-standing ambition for Turkey to usher in a powerful presidential system.
His remarks led to controversy, as the HDP’s motto for the June 7 elections was based on objecting to Erdoğan’s presidential system. A statement by HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş in parliament, where he said, “We won’t make you [Erdoğan] president,” had been highly criticized by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members. Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan said Demirtaş’s remarks were one of the reasons why the peace process failed.
However, later in the day, Bilgen clarified his remarks on his Twitter account.
“The HDP has not had a change of attitude regarding constitutional debate. We are ready for discussion about everything. We insist on rejecting the presidential system,” he said.
“We say that every issue can be discussed. It’s being transmitted as if the presidential system should be discussed,” he clarified.