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Erdogan Calls for New Constitution
International

Erdogan Calls for New Constitution

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said a new constitution should be created during the next four years under the single-party government of the AK Party.

“The Nov.1 election ushered in four years of stability and confidence. Let’s make this period a time of reforms, prioritizing a new constitution,” Erdogan said at a commemoration ceremony for Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Reuters reported.

Erdogan called for focusing on the future.

Earlier this month, Erdogan’s long-dominant Justice and Development Party (AKP) regained its parliamentary majority in a poll seen as pivotal for the future of the troubled country.

The result was a huge personal victory for 61-year-old Erdogan, Turkey’s divisive strongman who may now be able to secure enough support for his controversial ambitions to expand his role into a powerful executive presidency.

  Obama Hails Erdogan

US President Barack Obama congratulated his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on recent elections that extended the Turkish president’s term in office.

Obama has had a sometimes difficult relationship with Erdogan, amid difference of approach to the war in Syria and other key foreign policy issues.

Both have vowed to fight the Islamic State militants, but Erdogan’s efforts thus far have focused on combating the Kurdish separatist PKK, and, to Obama’s chagrin, Kurdish groups fighting IS in Syria.

The White House said both men discussed “the situation in Syria and the importance of expanding joint efforts to strengthen the moderate Syrian opposition and step up pressure against” the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

“They also discussed ways to create conditions for a negotiated solution to the conflict, including a political transition in Syria,” the statement added.

  EU Denounces Surge in Violence

Brussels voiced its strongest criticism yet of the surge in violence in EU candidate Turkey, calling for a renewed peace effort with the Kurds and expressing its concern about the dramatic curtailing of press freedoms.

While the European Commission praised Ankara for taking in millions of Syrians in its annual report of the country’s progress toward EU membership, it also had blunt advice for President Erdogan and its newly reelected AK Party.

“The commission hopes to see an end to the escalating violence in Turkey and the return to negotiations on a lasting solution on the Kurdish issue,” Johannes Hahn, the commissioner in charge of EU enlargement, told the European Parliament.

“In the past year, significant shortcomings affected the independence of the judiciary as well as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, in particular as regards increased pressure and intimidation of journalists,” Hahn said.

The report also said it had worries about the political ambitions of Erdogan, Turkey’s most popular politician who is now president after a decade as prime minister, and is widely seen as wanted to turn the presidency into a powerful, US-style executive.

In the diplomatic language of a statement accompanying its annual report, the commission said: “Turkey continued to express its commitment to EU accession. This commitment was, however, offset by the adoption of key legislation in the area of the rule of law, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly that ran against European standards.”

It also said that “the president remained engaged in a wide range of key domestic and foreign policy issues, which led within Turkey to criticism that he was overstepping constitutional prerogatives.”

 

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