ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan24) - Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a bill to the parliament on Saturday to extend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.
The bill proposing changes in 21 articles of the Constitution, if passed, will transfer executive powers to the hands of the President, reported Kurdistan24 Bureau in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The move is criticized by the main secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) whose co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, as well as eight other lawmakers, remain in prison as a step paving the way for a one-man rule in the country.
The AKP and MHP have been engaged in months of talks over the bill, as they capitalized on the opportunities the failed July 15 military coup attempt presented.
"To arrange the governance of Turkey in accordance with the will of the people has become a demand that our nation put forth at the expense of lives," read the bill's preamble, citing the coup attempt.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, a close confidant of Erdogan, told reporters at the Parliament that the changes were aimed at not allowing the formation of coalition governments in the future, which he and the President view as a cause of instability.
The President who holds a largely ceremonial post in the current Constitution will be able to appoint or sack his Vice President(s), ministers, top bureaucrats, judges, generals, and ambassadors, issue executive orders, announce a state of emergency and order the use of the armed forces.
The Parliament will have the power to refer the President to a supreme court in the case of treason, but on the other hand, the President will be able to dissolve the Parliament.
Announcing the bill along with his colleague the AKP's Abdulhamit Gul at a parliamentary press conference, the MHP lawmaker Mehmet Pursak who is a member of a negotiating team said there would be no changes in the first four articles of the Constitution.
The articles designate the characteristics of the Republic of Turkey as a national unitary state whose sole official language is Turkish.
The far-right lawmaker added the bill also contained no proposals for changing the article 54 which defines a citizen as a Turk, a definition viewed as an ethnic reference that denies other identities.
"Our Constitution is the Turkish Constitution. There is no discussion on the Turkishness in it," said the MHP MP.
Editing by Ava Homa