News / Europe

Turkey's Erdogan Urges Party to Forge Ahead with New Constitution

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd after he is elected president in a first-round victory, in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2014.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan waves to the crowd after he is elected president in a first-round victory, in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2014.
Reuters

Turkish president-elect Tayyip Erdogan urged his AK Party on Thursday to secure a stronger parliamentary majority next year to enable them to re-write the constitution, signaling no let-up in his drive to strengthen the presidency.

Erdogan secured his place in history as Turkey's first directly elected head of state on Sunday, taking him a step closer to the presidential system he covets for the European Union candidate nation and NATO member state.

His opponents fear an increasingly authoritarian state under Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, and whose Islamist roots and intolerance of dissent they fear is taking Turkey further away from Western values.

"I said before that the presidential elections would be the starting gun for the 2015 [general] elections," Erdogan told a meeting of AK Party provincial leaders in a speech broadcast on Turkish television.

"Our target should be to acquire at least a majority to establish the new constitution. I don't believe that you will compromise on this," he said.

Erdogan will have to break formal links with the AK Party he founded 13 years ago once he is sworn in as president on Aug. 28. He wants a pliant successor as leader of the party, likely also to be his next prime minister, in order to secure a stronger parliament majority in polls next June.

Should his influence over the party wane, Erdogan could struggle to force through the constitutional changes he wants to create an executive presidency — a reform which requires either a two thirds majority in parliament or a popular vote.

The AK Party currently holds 313 of parliament's 550 seats, a strong majority but below the crucial two thirds threshold.

In his first major speech since declaring victory in Sunday's election, Erdogan vowed to continue his battle with influential U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of seeking to overthrow him.

Erdogan accuses Gulen's supporters in the judiciary and police of contriving a corruption scandal which burst into the open last December as part of a plot to undermine him.

Thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges and prosecutors have been reassigned in a purge of Gulen's influence since then, with Erdogan accusing what he calls a "parallel structure" of a "vile betrayal" of Turkey.

"It's an organization that threatens our national security. We have new evidence, new files," he said on Thursday.

"[Their] targets are not Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his family, his colleagues, his friends; their target is our independence, our flag, our country and our people."

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dorothea from: Irland
August 14, 2014 12:30 PM
this is Hamas elections all over again. this is Hitler's elections all over again. Assad election. Sadam Hussein elections. the "Queen" of Jordan election. Turkey today is an Islamist terrorist State. Just like the ISIL or Hamas or yesterday Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

I have been to Turkey on a Graduate Archeology tour. Do not tell me that Turkey is a progressive wealthy country... that is not what i had seen. I had seen Turks living in squalor and degradation, in filth and fear.

In Response

by: Ali baba from: New york
August 15, 2014 7:29 PM
The President of Turkey want to restore Ottoman Empire. I hope that European union will reject the their request to join European Union.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid