Erdogan signals readiness to approve bill empowering him

"That is the expectation of our nation," Erdogan said.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that he was soon going to approve a parliament-passed constitutional bill extending his powers, paving the way for a referendum in upcoming months.

Speaking at a press conference in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo with his Malagasy counterpart Hery Rajaonarimampianina, Erdogan said he was not going to wait long to decide on the matter.

"The Parliament must have sent the result of parliamentary discussions to the presidency by the time, all being well, I am back in our country," Erdogan told reporters during the last leg of his eastern African trip which covered Tanzania and Mozambique as well.

"That is the expectation of our nation," Erdogan said according to the government-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkey's Parliament passed the 18-articles bill in two rounds with votes from the Erdogan-founded ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the past fortnight.

After Erdogan's approval, the constitutional bill is expected to be voted in the anticipated referendum in coming months.

The bill gives Erdogan extraordinary powers like dissolving the parliament, declaring a state of emergency, issuing decrees, and forming a cabinet as well as appointing top judicial, bureaucratic and military officials without a parliamentary vote of confidence.

The Kurdish and secularist Turkish opposition have vehemently opposed the changes.

With its eleven lawmakers, including its co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag in jail, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) already announced last weekend to launch a no campaign to any empowerment of Erdogan.

The Republican People's Party (CHP), which was founded by the first President of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, said it would take the bill to the Supreme Court for a nullification, arguing 16 articles were in contravention of the first four unalterable articles.

The CHP was also to present videos showing some AKP lawmakers showing their ballots during the voting process at the Parliament that had to be secret.

On the opposition's appeal to the Supreme Court Erdogan said he was "used to that" and had no right to question them.

"I hope the Supreme Court quickly gives its decision as soon as possible. Because our nation is excitedly getting ready to take steps on this issue."

 

Editing by Ava Homa