Turkey's Erdogan praises presidential system
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey could have achieved more if apresidential system had been adopted earlier, Anadolu agency reported.
Turkey's state-run broadcaster TRT held a special TV program late Thursday with high-profile journalists interviewing Erdogan in the new Turkish presidential palace in Ankara.
"I believe that with the presidential system, we will make more progress concerning the rights and freedoms," said Erdogan.
Turkey has been governed under a parliamentary system for decades. The country has been discussing the possible introduction of a presidential system for a long while now and Erdogan had expressed his willingness for such a change.
Erdogan added Thursday evening that Turkey's presidential system model did not have to resemble the United States'.
He proposed that the president could use the authority determined by the constitution and that the current prime minister could acting as the first vice president.
A new presidential system has been a topical issue in Turkey, as the country is getting closer to parliamentary elections in June 2015.
Erdogan also said that, after the June elections, the priority of the political agenda should be the drafting of a new constitution.
"A new constitution is a must for a new Turkey," he said.
A constitutional amendment or a new charter is needed to set up a presidential system inTurkey. The country's current constitution was drafted two years after a military takeover in 1980 and numerous amendments have been made to it since then.
Erdogan is the first president of the Republic of Turkey to be elected by popular vote. Prior to that, he was the country's prime minister for 11 years.
The Turkish president also addressed the issue of the 'parallel state,' which refers to an alleged group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police, who are working to undermine the Turkish government.
Erdogan described the group as "an illegal organization which has carried out illegal activities under a legal appearance."
"The U.S. should do its part as a strategic partner of Turkey,' said President Erdogan as he called on the United States to deport Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gulen as part of the fight against the "parallel state."
"This is not an ordinary fight, but a serious issue. They are a treacherous network," he stressed.
Erdogan also stressed and voiced his determination to continue what is termed as the "solution process," which was launched in 2013 to end the decades-old conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. PKK is listed as terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
"I do not find those who are claiming to be representing the Kurdish people sincere enough," said Erdogan, referring to those who "do not want a solution."
Erdogan said with an internal security bill, of which the draft law is expected to be presented to the parliament later next week, considerable progress would be achieved in the "solution process," including the PKK laying down its arms.