Turkey moves closer to giving President Erdogan more muscle
14 January 2017
Turkey moved a step closer on Friday to what President Tayyip Reccip Erdogan calls strong leadership, with parliament approving reforms overnight that concentrate more power in his hands, allowing the president to issue decrees and be the member of a political party.
It's the ruling AK party - which he founded - that's pushing the reforms through. But opposition parties fear the changes will fuel authoritarianism. Lawmakers came to blows on Wednesday night when tempers boiled over during a debate on the bill.
The AK party threatening fresh elections if the bill wasn't passed; the main opposition CHP responded with "bring it on".
Erdogan says an early poll is not desirable, but also not unthinkable. His battle isn't over yet. The changes still need to be passed in two more rounds of voting, then the constitutional package will be put to referendum.
He says a fully executive presidency is what Turkey needs to navigate through its various crises. The Turkish lira took its biggest weekly fall on Friday since the aftermath of a failed coup last July.
The president's adviser says so-called puppets had manipulated foreign markets and vowed to root them out. Erdogan himself called on Turks to convert their foreign currency to Turkish lira, which is now the worst performing currency in the world.