Erdoğan: We do not recognize Venice Commission reports

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that Turkey would not recognize reports of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of constitutional law experts that advises the Council of Europe.

“Now they are talking about a Venice Commission report. Do you know what the Venice Commission is? It is just a technical delegation, a group from the Council of Europe. They just get information from there. That is to say, it does not count for anything. You can write as many reports you want. We do not recognize your reports. We will not recognize them in the future, either, for your information,” said Erdoğan during a speech at a ceremony in İstanbul.

The Venice Commission warned of a “one-person regime” in Turkey in the wake of proposed constitutional amendments that will establish an executive-style presidential system in the country, according to a report in the German Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday.

According to the daily, the commission reported that the proposed changes to the constitution in Turkey place the country “on the road to an autocracy and a one-person regime.”

The commission criticized Ankara’s decision to push through constitutional changes during a state of emergency, saying the “severe restrictions” on political freedoms jeopardize the necessary framework for such pivotal modifications to the law.

The Venice Commission also described a “dramatic decline in the democratic order” in Turkey.

A failed coup in July 2016 prompted Turkish authorities to declare a state of emergency, which has witnessed a crackdown on freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

In January, Turkey’s Parliament passed a series of constitutional amendments approved by President Erdoğan that would transform the political order into an executive-style presidential system, effectively widening the scope of powers of the position. ( March 3, 2017

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