Turkey's Erdogan says strong presidency not 'personal issue'

Renewing a call for constitutional changes that would turn Turkey's political system into a presidential one, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he does not want the changes for himself but for Turkey's political stability.

His comments Thursday during an address to civil society groups were a response to critics who fear that Erdogan — who has displayed increasingly authoritarian tendencies — is eyeing a one-man rule. The current system gives the president limited powers.

Erdogan said: "The presidential system is not Tayyip Erdogan's personal issue."

Erdogan says the matter should be decided by the people in a referendum, not just by parliament.

A parliamentary committee is scheduled to begin meetings next week on making Turkey's constitution more democratic. Opposition parties oppose changes that would give Erdogan far-reaching powers.