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Turkish opposition parties vow return to parliamentary democracy

by editor

Six opposition parties in Turkey have pledged to bring back parliamentary democracy and scrap the executive presidential system introduced by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The party leaders signed a 48-page declaration to introduce a “Strengthened Parliamentary System” in a ceremony in Ankara on Monday.

The shift to democracy will only occur if the opposition unseats Erdoğan in elections currently scheduled for June 2023.

Turkey’s opposition has blamed the country’s economic downturn and an erosion of rights and freedoms on Erdoğan’s so-called “one-man rule”.

Erdoğan, who has been in office since 2003 — first as prime minister and as president since 2014 — inaugurated a presidential system three years ago following the attempted military coup in 2016.

The presidential system abolished the office of the prime minister and concentrated most powers in the hands of the president, which had been a largely ceremonial post until then.

The new system envisioned by the six opposition parties would revive the office of the prime minister and restore the president’s largely symbolic powers.

It also promises transparency and greater rights and freedoms, including women’s rights, the party leaders said at the ceremony.

Two of those to sign the declaration were co-founders of Erdoğan’s ruling party before they left the movement.

Turkey’s second-largest opposition party — the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party — was excluded from the agreement over accusations of links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

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