Turkish president warns barb trading in referendum campaign
Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday warned that the worsening verbal battle between domestic political parties ahead of a coming referendum over a constitutional amendment package could bring dangers to the nation, Xinhua reported.
The president urged the parties to watch their manners in the campaign and explain the details of the amendment or their reasons of opposing it instead of simply telling citizens how to vote, the newspaper Hurriyet Daily News quoted Gul as telling reporters during his visit to Azerbaijan.
"This is a very dangerous situation. It has come to the point where there is an incredible distance between them. I talk to them, but have difficulty in bringing them together," said Gul.
Proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the constitutional amendment bill has been strongly criticized by opposition parties and the judiciary as an AKP attempt to seize more control over the judiciary and other state institutions. A referendum is due on Sept. 12 to decide the fate of the bill.
The AKP says Turkey needs to change its current constitution, adopted after a 1980 military coup and criticized by the European Union (EU), to improve democracy and human rights to EU standards, which Ankara seeks to join.
Party leaders, especially Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, have attacked each other with strong allegations in speeches during their campaign tours as the referendum approached, exchanging personal charges in some cases.
"There are many dangers to their language. It's a very hurtful and personal language," Gul said.
Politicians had to come together to make crucial decisions for Turkey, which could not be done without trust, he said.