Turkey opposition leaders debate how to end Erdogan’s ‘one man rule’

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The leaders of six opposition parties in Turkey met Saturday to strategize about the future of the country’s governing system — a move that aims to unseat the country’s longtime ruler.

In a statement following the working dinner, the party leaders said Turkey was experiencing “the deepest political and economic crisis” of its history and blamed it on the executive presidential system.

They said their joint goal was to transform Turkey’s governance into a “strengthened parliamentary system”.

They did not mention President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by name, but their clear aim is to find a way to work together to unseat him.

After more than 11 years as Turkey’s prime minister, Erdoğan was elected president in 2014.

At the time, the position was primarily ceremonial, however in 2017 Turkish voters approved an executive presidential system, greatly expanding Erdoğan powers at the expense of those of the prime minister and parliament.

Erdoğan was re-elected the following year.

Critics call the system “one-man rule”.

The leaders at the dinner included Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party CHP, Meral Akşener from the nationalist Good Party, as well as Democracy and Progress Party’s Ali Babacan and Future Party’s Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Davutoğlu and Babacan were co-founders of Erdoğan’s ruling party, AK, and served in top positions but broke away to form their own parties in criticism of Erdoğan’s policies.

The second-largest opposition party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, was not at the meeting.

HDP has been the target of government’s attacks in the past, and many of its members, including its former leaders, have been imprisoned over alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

Erdoğan has also accused CHP of siding with “terrorists.”

The next parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for June 2023.

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