Istanbul, March 9 () - A group of veteran academics has raised its voice against the prospect of building a “Turkish-style” presidential system, emphasizing that increasing the efficiency of parliament within the framework of the separation of powers and providing judicial independence is a precondition for assuring rights and freedoms.
Some 30 leading academics, mainly from the fields of law and political science, released a statement on March 9 titled “Respect for the constitution and democratic processes.”
The release came on the same day as President Tayyip Erdoğan hosted his second cabinet meeting as head of state, in a further sign of his determination to keep a firm grip on power.
“Today, Turkey’s level of democracy and its constitution have not reflected its true background” the statement said.
It added that several studies have been conducted over last few years in order to fill this “democratic vacuum” saying it prioritized increasing the efficiency of parliament within the framework of the separation of powers and securing judicial independence as a precondition for assuring rights and freedoms.
“A multidimensional mechanism of checks and balances form the common denominator of contemporary constitutions” the statement said.
“Endeavors that have been conducted under the direction of President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] in recent months, which are based on building a tailor-made presidential regime, are not only far from democratic procedures in terms of the method and the target, but are also unconstitutional” they suggested.
The group suggested that Turkey is facing “the imposition of a new regime.”
“Attempting to conduct this through non-constitutional means and by using all opportunities of the state is legally unacceptable” it said.
As recently as Feb. 27, Erdoğan claimed that establishing an “authentic Turkish-style presidential system” is both possible and necessary.
“It is being said: ‘A Turkish-type presidential system is not possible.’ But I am saying it loud and clear: It is possible, pure and simple. Why wouldn’t it be?” he said.
Erdoğan is Turkey’s first directly-elected president and has repeatedly vowed to wield more power than his predecessors, prompting critics to accuse him of unconstitutionally centralizing power in what they say is a de facto presidential system.