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Iran Press TV

Germany urges Turkey to protect separation of powers in new system

Iran Press TV

Thu Feb 2, 2017 6:38PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Turkey to ensure that its constitutional principle of separation of powers will be protected as the country is to shift to a new presidential system.

Merkel said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday that Turkey needed to heed concerns about proposed constitutional changes that would strengthen powers of the president as the country grapples with a sensitive time following a coup attempt in July last year.

"In such a time of profound political upheaval, everything must be done to continue to protect the separation of powers," said Merkel during a news conference with Erdogan, adding that Ankara must do more to respect "freedom of opinion and the diversity of society" amid a crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the coup attempt.

Turkey has jailed more than 40,000 people on suspicion of having links to a US-based cleric, whom Turkey blames for the coup attempt of July 15, 2016. More than 100,000 people have also been discharged from their jobs over the same suspicions.

Turkey's crackdown has faced increasing international criticism. Germany has been highly critical of Germany, with officials in Berlin fearing that the Turkish president is using the coup attempt as a pretext to curtail dissent.

Turkey's planned constitutional changes, expected to be put to a referendum in April, have also sparked concerns among opponents who say that the measure could push Turkey into authoritarianism.

Erdogan responded to Merkel's concerns over transition to the presidential system and said that he would approve the constitutional reform bill as soon as he receives it.

"It is out of the question for the separation of powers to be abolished," Erdogan said, adding that the proposed constitutional changes would give the executive branch more opportunity to "work more swiftly."

Erdogan said that Turkey's Judiciary would retain its power and function as usual in the new system.

Germany and Turkey have also been at odds over Berlin's alleged support for Turkey's Kurdish militants. Turkey has also called on Germany to extradite a group of high-ranking military officers who have reportedly ceased to work at NATO facilities in Germany and have requested asylum.

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