Europe

Turkish PM seeks support for expanded powers for Erdogan

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a parliamentary symposium on Jerusalem, in Istanbul, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Erdogan has urged Muslims to defend the Palestinian cause, striking a tough stance on Israel despite improved ties between the two nations. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a parliamentary symposium on Jerusalem, in Istanbul, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Erdogan has urged Muslims to defend the Palestinian cause, striking a tough stance on Israel despite improved ties between the two nations. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Turkey's prime minister has met with the country's nationalist party leader to discuss plans for constitutional reforms that would usher in a system expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's government is seeking the support of Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, for a vote in parliament that would pave the way for a referendum giving the largely ceremonial presidency full executive powers.

Opposition parties have opposed a presidential system, since they fear it would allow Erdogan to rule unchecked. But MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has switched positions and recently voiced his party's support.

Yildirim and Bahceli were meeting Thursday "to smooth over" differences on the proposed changes.

Ruling party officials say parliament could debate the changes early next year and hold a referendum on them in April.