Turkish President approves constitutional package to empower his office

According to a statement from the presidency on Friday, the package was passed in parliament in January.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) inspects an honor guard of Tanzania People's Defense Force soldiers during a welcoming ceremony at State House Grounds in Dar es Salaam on January 23, 2017

It is due for a public vote, two months after it is formally law.

The bill must still be entered into the Official Gazatte.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the referendum would likely take place on April 16.

Critics say the amendments will weaken checks and balances and the role of parliament and leave too much power concentrated in the office of the president, while damaging the independence of the judiciary.

The government says it will bring stability.

NAN recalls that on Jan 19, the two largest opposition parties in parliament say the 18-article bill, which could enable Erdogan to rule until 2029, will fuel authoritarianism in the NATO member and European Union candidate country.

The ruling Justice and Development Party, backed by the Nationalist Movement Party, says it will bring the strong executive leadership needed to prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past.

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