Turkish government seeks popular vote

( AP ) - Turkey's Islamic-rooted government, whose presidential candidate dropped his bid in the face of protests from pro-secular lawmakers, pushed Monday for a constitutional amendment that allows the president to be elected in a popular vote rather than in a parliamentary poll.

The withdrawal of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's candidacy for the presidency on Sunday was a new defeat for the government, which had to call for early general elections in a standoff that has exposed a deepening divide between the government and its opponents. Secularism is enshrined in the Constitution and fiercely guarded by the judiciary and the powerful military.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned to overcome the deadlock in Parliament with a constitutional amendment that would require a popular vote for president. Parliament began debating the proposal and could hold the first round of voting on the measure on Monday.

"Parliament is deadlocked. The correct thing now is for the people to elect" the new president themselves, Gul said as he dropped his candidacy on Sunday.

Parliament needed two-thirds quorum to vote on Gul, the only candidate in the running. The vote was a repeat of a first round that the Constitutional Court - siding with the secular opposition - invalidated last week because Parliament failed to reach quorum.

But legislators from the secular party, which also boycotted the first round vote, stayed away Sunday as well, and Parliament was short of the 367 legislators needed to press ahead with the poll.

A small conservative party has declared support for the government's proposal to allow a popular vote for president - a post that carries the veto power over legislation.

The proposed amendment includes reducing the presidential term from seven years to five, allowing the president to stand for re-election, holding general elections every four years instead of five and reducing the number of lawmakers for a quorum to 184 for a vote on any legislation in Parliament.

Legislators from Erdogan's party have said if the amendment is passed this week, Turkey could hold both general and presidential elections on July 22.

However, the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer has the power to veto the amendment and could even call for a referendum on the measure.

Sezer has publicly shared his concerns over the government's attempts to raise the profile of Islam in daily life in the country. The military also stepped into the debate, threatening to intervene to ensure that secularism is enforced.

Erdogan's party is an advocate of European Union membership that has done more than many other governments to introduce Western reforms to Turkey. It denies the label "Islamist."

"We have worked harder than any party in Turkey's history to make Turkey a member of the EU," Gul told Newsweek magazine in the May 14 issue. "Why would we do this if we are trying to Islamize Turkey?"

Secularists fear that if a president with Islamist leanings is elected to the prestigious post, that would allow the ruling party to expand its control and impose religion on society.

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Turkish cities in recent weeks to protest the government for nominating a politician with Islamic leanings as president. Another large demonstration was scheduled for Sunday in the western city of Izmir.

IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Loading Bars
Latest
Israel to allow vaccinated tourists in starting late May
Biden confirms invitation to Putin to take part in climate summit
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus have informal meeting
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani FM, Romanian ambassador stress high level of development of bilateral political relations (PHOTO)
Special equipment of Belarus assembled in Azerbaijan may be exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry responds to Armenia's statement on War Trophy Park
President of Belarus pays working visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Azerbaijani president gives weighty answer to Armenia’s disinformation campaign - Official (VIDEO)
Belarus reveals plans for oil purchases from Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
Greece can take slightly more than 1 mcm/d via TAP
President Ilham Aliyev: Liberation of territories will be additional opportunities
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians did it deliberately in order to erase legacy of Azerbaijani culture in order to erase these territories from our memories
Together with Russian president, we discussed issue about Iskander-M missile – Azerbaijani president
TAP supplies to Greece cause contraction in LNG imports
Kazakhstan attracts investments to develop national parks in Almaty region
European Commission makes statement on TAP
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allows flights from Irkutsk to 3 countries
President Ilham Aliyev: I had a strong feeling during negotiations that Armenia doesn’t want a solution
President Ilham Aliyev: I think we need to be more active in order to try to build bridges
ADB focuses on renewable energy projects in Georgia
US eyes to continue negotiations on direct flights with Georgia
Bank of Georgia discusses revised outlook for country’s economic growth in 2021
Anabechdi company plans to produce textile in Georgia
Georgia to receive significant funds from IMF
Azerbaijan reveals 2M2021 data lending to energy, chemistry, natural resources sector
Georgian E-Space company looks to export its software
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 65,000
Amount of Georgian bonds held by foreign investors up
JSC "Georgian Railway" reveals financial indicators for 2020
Uzbekistan, Russia discussing joint projects on aircraft construction
Iran's propane gas exports shrink
Armenia committed ecological terror during occupation of Azerbaijani lands - Ecology ministry
India, EU reiterate commitment to democracy, freedom and respect for human rights
Bangladesh: Multinational military exercise 'Shantir Ogroshena 2021' concludes
Turkey’s export of grains, legumes to Iran jumps
PM Modi to inaugurate virtual Raisina Dialogue, 50 countries to participate
US to support Georgian farmers, small business owners through agrotourism
External merchandise trade down in Georgia
New buildings of Turkmen Turkmenbasy, Senagat banks opened
Turkey's 1Q2021 export of chemical products sees increase
Iran's polyethylene exports rise
Georgia assists new ferroalloy enterprise in Terjola through "Produce in Georgia" program
Azerbaijan issues data on compulsory non-life insurance for Feb.2021
Foreign currency demand of Azerbaijani banks rebounds
Azerbaijan's revenues from customs duties increase
Azerbaijan's Feb.2021 lending to agriculture grows
All news