Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, March 28, 2023

World

Factbox-Turkey’s anti-Erdogan bloc vows to reverse his legacy

By Huseyin Hayatsever and Ali Kucukgocmen

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s opposition alliance has vowed to reverse many of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies if elected in a vote expected May 14, and on Monday named Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu as their presidential candidate.

The six-party Nation Alliance promises to return to a parliamentary democracy, roll back unorthodox economic policies and introduce a major shift in foreign policy.

Here are details of their political programme:

LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE REFORMS

The main promise of the Nation Alliance is to return Turkey to a parliamentary system, which they say will be “stronger” than the one in place before the country switched to the current presidential system in 2018.

They would bring back the position of prime minister, which was abolished by Erdogan through a referendum in 2017.

They also promise to turn the presidency into an “impartial” role with no political responsibility. Among their pledges are abolishing the president’s right to veto legislation and issue decrees.

The president, who will sever ties to any political party, will only serve one seven-year term and be banned from active politics afterwards.

The parliament’s authority to back out of international agreements will be enshrined in the constitution. It will also have more authority over planning the government budget.

In public administration, boards and offices under the presidency will be abolished and their duties will be transferred to relevant ministries.

ECONOMY

The Nation Alliance has promised to lower inflation, running at 55% in February, to single digits within two years and restore the stability of the Turkish lira, which has lost 80% of its value in the past five years.

They will ensure the independence of the central bank and roll back measures such as allowing the cabinet to select the governor.

The alliance will prepare legislation to allow parliament to pass laws on the bank’s mission, operational independence and high-level appointments.

They have promised to end policies that interfere with a floating exchange rate, including a government scheme that protects lira deposits against currency depreciation.

They have pledged to cut government expenditure by reducing the number of planes used by the presidency, the number of vehicles used by civil servants, and selling some state buildings.

They will review all projects under public-private partnerships.

They will review the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Project and renegotiate natural gas contracts, reducing the risk of dependence on certain countries for gas imports.

FOREIGN POLICY

The opposition bloc will adopt the slogan of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as the cornerstone of Turkey’s foreign policy.

While promising to “work to complete the accession process” for the full membership in the European Union, the alliance has vowed to review Turkey’s refugee deal of 2016 with the EU.

They have also promised to establish relations with the United States with an understanding of mutual trust, and to return Turkey to the F-35 fighter jet programme.

They say Turkey would maintain relations with Russia “with an understanding that both parties are equal and strengthened by balanced and constructive dialogue.”

LEGAL REFORMS

The six parties have pledged to ensure the independence of the judiciary, which is currently seen as under the control of Erdogan and his allies.

Judges’ willingness to abide by Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights’ rulings will be considered when evaluating promotions.

Judges and prosecutors who cause rights violations that lead Turkey to be fined at the two courts will be made to pay the fine. Measures will be taken to ensure courts quickly implement rulings by the two high courts.

They have promised to reform the Board of Judges and Prosecutors and split it into two entities, which they say will be more accountable and transparent.

They will also reform the structure and elections processes for higher courts, such as the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation and Council of State.

The parties have promised to ensure that pre-trial detentions are the exception, a measure that critics say is abused under Erdogan’s rule.

They will strengthen freedom of expression and broaden the right to hold demonstrations.

(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Christina Fincher)

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