Erdoğan urges MHP grass roots for support at referendum

Erdoğan urges MHP grass roots for support at referendum

Addressing residents of Samsun on Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on MHP supporters to say “yes” in the Sept. 12 referendum.

August 24, 2010, Tuesday/ 16:20:00/ FAHRİ ÖZTOPRAK
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan devoted his speech during a rally in the Black Sea province of Samsun on Sunday to supporters of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whom he called on for a “yes” vote in the Sept. 12 referendum on a constitutional amendment package, saying the opposition by the MHP administration to the package lacks plausible grounds.

“The MHP administration insists on saying ‘no’ to the reform package although it lacks any plausible reason, as if it has received some sort of ‘directive’ to do so,” he said, and asked the party grass roots not to join in the MHP administration’s mistake. Erdoğan also reminded them that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli had called party members who announced their support for the planned changes to the Constitution “servants” and “miserable.”

Turkey will be voting on the constitutional amendment package on Sept. 12, on the 30th anniversary of the 1980 coup d’état. The existing Constitution was ratified in a referendum in 1982 after that coup. There has been growing social demand for a new constitution as the current one fails to meet today’s needs in the areas of human rights and freedoms. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government drafted a new constitution in 2007 but failed to garner the support of the opposition parties for its approval. Undeterred, it recently prepared a list of vital amendments to the document.

The opposition parties, including the MHP, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), are staunchly opposed to the planned changes to the Constitution. They believe that the AK Party intends to seize control of the judiciary with the changes.

The prime minister later traveled to Giresun, also a Black Sea province, where he lashed out at the opposition parties there, too. He said the MHP, the CHP, the BDP, the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), the Workers’ Party (İP) and the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) are cooperating in their efforts to block public approval of the reform package in the referendum.

“And we have recently seem that the Kandil Mountains have also joined their camp. The CHP and the MHP reiterate whatever Kandil says,” he said, implying that the power influencing the opposition parties to oppose to the constitutional amendment package is the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has bases on the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq.

Erdoğan spoke harshly as he responded to opposition claims that the AK Party government had come to an agreement with the terrorist PKK to ensure the support of the terrorist organization in the referendum. “You have to prove it if you make such a claim. If you cannot, then that’s dishonesty. The AK Party government has never sat at a negotiating table with the terrorist organization, and it will never do so,” he exclaimed.

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