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Don’t fear presidential system, Turkish MP says

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Radiye Sezer Katırcıoğlu, AK Party Kocaeli MP, with UETD-UK members

Governing AK Party MP Katırcıoğlu says executive presidency system is not complicated and has existed for years

An MP from Turkey’s governing AK Party has confidently predicted Turkish people will endorse plans to switch to an executive presidency in the country.

Radiye Sezer Katırcıoğlu, AK Party Kocaeli MP

Radiye Sezer Katırcıoğlu, who represents the northwestern industrial city of Kocaeli in Turkey’s parliament, made her prediction to an audience at the Turkish Religious Affairs Department building in London.

“We are in close contact with voters both abroad and at home. The impression I received is that our people will vote Yes by a large majority,” she said at the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) event on Sunday 22 January, at which she was a speaker.

“After a tiring and lengthy session in parliament, we successfully passed the proposed constitutional reform in the Turkish parliament with a very good result.”

She said that the proposed executive presidency system, which would grant Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers, was neither complicated nor difficult to define.

“This system has not been newly invented. There are countries that have been using it for centuries. Don’t be afraid. Listen to us. They have tried for years to mollify us in Turkey with fear.”

The event, entitled “The position and importance of women in politics and civil society”, was also attended by UETD Women’s Branch leader Ayşe Aşut, representatives of non-governmental organisations in the UK and an audience made up largely of women.

Proposals for an executive presidency were approved by Turkey’s parliament in mid-January, but a referendum date has not yet been announced. Sunday 9 April has been widely rumoured, which would mean Turkish passport holders resident in the UK would cast their votes the previous weekend, 1-2 April.

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