Turkish PM denies new system is a 'dictatorship'

The lady doth protest too much? Davutoglu invokes Hitler in speaking about switch from parliamentary to presidential system.

Ari Yashar ,

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed on Wednesday that the plans to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system would not turn Turkey into a "dictatorship" under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Davutoglu made the comments while speaking to NTV just after a lengthy meeting with Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the Republican People's Party (CHP), about the new constitution and planned change to a presidential system.

"I have clearly expressed our proposal to Mr. Kılıcdaroglu. What is right for Turkey is to adopt the presidential system in line with the (democratic) spirit," said Davutoglu.

"This system will not evolve into dictatorship but if we do not have this spirit, even the parliamentary system can turn into this (dictatorship)," he said. "There are authoritarian structures coming out of parliamentary systems. (Adolf) Hitler’s Germany was born out of a parliamentary system."

"We should, therefore, put taboos aside and look at the issues we agree on. Let’s freely discuss which system would be beneficial to Turkey after you make your own proposal,” added the prime minister, claiming the parliament will be able to annul presidential decrees.

Speaking about the presidential system, Davutoglu said, "are there countries where it’s not implemented rightly? Yes, but let me not name these. At the same time, there are countries where parliamentary systems are spoiled as well."

He then brushed off the opposition's concerns about Erdogan being allowed to wield such enormous powers by the switch in systems, saying, "this issue should not be discussed over personalities."

Erdogan has steered the country from being largely secular to being ever increasingly Islamist, a point Russian President Vladimir Putin recently noted in vowing not to reconcile over Ankara's shooting down a Russian jet on the Syrian border.

Turkey has also increasingly cracked down on the press, on social media by shuttering Twitter and Facebook at several junctures, and even cracking down on criticism of its leader, with a doctor recently facing jailtime for comparing Erdogan to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movies.