President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday asked his supporters in Istanbul to vote for the constitutional change in an upcoming referendum on an executive presidency for Turkey.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a new metro line in Istanbul’s Pendik district, Erdogan said: “I believe that you will walk towards the future by working day and night at this campaign for the referendum.”
The Turkish parliament voted in favour of a new constitutional amendment bill early on Saturday. A referendum is likely to be held in early April, following Erdogan’s approval, in the coming days.
“Now I hope the nation will make a real decision,” he said.
Proposed changes to the constitution require a simple majority in the referendum. The electorate will be asked if they want Turkey’s current parliamentary system to be replaced with a presidential one.
On Friday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to hold an early election, “if it is not afraid of the people’s will.”
He said none of the political party’s manifestos for the last election on 1st November, 2015, promised to introduce a presidential system.
Kilicdaroglu said there should be an election in which the parties can put forward their own amendment proposals, before the AKP-drafted constitutional charter is submitted to a referendum.
“In order for this constitutional amendment to be properly discussed in society and not imposed on society, elections must be held first,” he told reporters on Friday.