Europe

Turkey's Erdogan makes fresh push for presidential system

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at critics of a government reform bill being debated in parliament that would greatly expand the powers of his office.

"Whatever you do, I believe that these (reforms) will pass through parliament and go before the people," Erdogan said in remarks apparently directed at the main opposition party which does not back the proposals.

On Monday, Turkish lawmakers began discussing a set of constitutional amendments that would transform the country's system of government and boost presidential powers.

Critics fear these changes, which need to clear parliament with several rounds of voting and will likely be put to a referendum, would allow Erdogan to govern unchecked.

Erdogan dismissed those concerns Thursday stating "if you have any respect for the people, if you have any respect for the will of the people ... then let these discussions end so that the people can make a decision."