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.

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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs