Europe

Turkey's parliament to debate greater powers for Erdogan

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a rally in Sanliurfa, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag says police have detained 18 people in connection with a foiled attack at courthouse in the western city of Izmir that nevertheless killed a policeman and a courthouse employee. Addressing crowds in Sanliurfa, near the border with Syria, Erdogan reiterated claims that unidentified forces wanting to forestall Turkey's rise were behind such attacks. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a rally in Sanliurfa, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag says police have detained 18 people in connection with a foiled attack at courthouse in the western city of Izmir that nevertheless killed a policeman and a courthouse employee. Addressing crowds in Sanliurfa, near the border with Syria, Erdogan reiterated claims that unidentified forces wanting to forestall Turkey's rise were behind such attacks. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Service, Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police use a water cannon to disperse protesters as dozens of demonstrators gather in front of Turkey's parliament to protest proposed amendments to the country's constitution that would hand sweeping executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely ceremonial presidency, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday. Jan. 9, 2017. Parliament is kicking off a debate Monday on a set of draft amendments.(AP Photo)

    Riot police use a water cannon to disperse protesters as dozens of demonstrators gather in front of Turkey's parliament to protest proposed amendments to the country's constitution that would hand sweeping executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely ceremonial presidency, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday. Jan. 9, 2017. Parliament is kicking off a debate Monday on a set of draft amendments.(AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police surround Hakan Canduran, the head of Ankara Bar Association, after dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of Turkey's parliament to protest proposed amendments to the country's constitution that would hand sweeping executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely ceremonial presidency, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday. Jan. 9, 2017. Parliament is kicking off a debate Monday on a set of draft amendments.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

    Riot police surround Hakan Canduran, the head of Ankara Bar Association, after dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of Turkey's parliament to protest proposed amendments to the country's constitution that would hand sweeping executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely ceremonial presidency, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday. Jan. 9, 2017. Parliament is kicking off a debate Monday on a set of draft amendments.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)  (The Associated Press)

Turkey's parliament is set to consider draft constitutional amendments that would hand Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely ceremonial presidency sweeping executive powers.

The assembly is kicking off debate on the proposed reforms on Monday. The proposals must clear two rounds of balloting in Parliament. If passed, the government will submit the package to a referendum for a final approval — possibly in the spring.

The ruling party, founded by Erdogan, is 14 votes short of the 330 votes required to pass the proposals but has the backing of the country's nationalist party.

Erdogan has been pushing for the proposal, insisting a strong leadership would lead to greater prosperity.

Critics fear that the changes would allow Erdogan, who is accused of authoritarian behavior, to rule unchecked.