Turkish coalition to push for constitutional amendments Mike Rosen-Molina at 3:57 PM ET
[JURIST] Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder] announced Thursday that it has formed a coalition with a small opposition Motherland Party of Turkey (ANAP) [party website, in Turkish; Wikipedia backgrounder] to pass a series of constitutional amendments that would change Turkey's system for electing its president. Under the proposed reforms, the president would be elected by a direct vote rather than chosen by parliament. The announcement comes one day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] called for the amendments [JURIST report] in an attempt to calm political tensions after the Turkish Constitutional Court voided [JURIST report] a parliamentary vote in support of Erdogan's presidential candidate, Islamist-leaning Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul [official website; JURIST news archive]. The Court found the vote invalid because a quorum of legislators did not participate.
Critics have accused Gul of harboring secret plans for Islamist reforms to Turkey's strongly secular state structure. The Turkish army, which has ousted four presidents in four decades and regards itself as the guardian of the secular constitution [text], has also warned against instituting any Islamist reforms. Reuters has more.
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