Turkey to reach efficient government model: Ibrahim Kalin

Turkish President Erdogan’s aide Ibrahim Kalin says constitutional change will give country effective, transparent and fast management

Turkey will have a much more effective, transparent and fast government model, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has said ahead of a constitutional referendum set for April.

“The people will choose a new government system, and weaknesses related to the system [as well as] some bureaucratic obstacles in front of Turkey will be removed,” Kalin said in Istanbul on Saturday during an autograph session of his latest book I, the Other and Beyond.

Constitutional reform and the change to a presidential system has been on the political agenda since Erdogan, a former prime minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader, was elected president in August 2014.

This marked the first time a Turkish president had been directly chosen by popular vote.

On January 20, Turkish lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voted in favor of a new constitutional reform package.

Two opposition parties, the People’s Republican Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), remain opposed to the proposed changes.

Aside from the change to an executive presidency, other reforms include allowing the president to maintain party political affiliation.

There will be changes to Turkey’s highest judicial body, which would be renamed while retaining its independence and own budget.

It also sets 2019 as the date for Turkey’s next presidential and parliamentary elections.

Islam and the West

The Erdogan aide also said relations between Islam and the West was one of the key issues of the current age.

Kalin said he did not attempt to write a chronological history of relations between Islam and the West nor explain it separately and later combine them.

“On the contrary, we tried to deal with the periods, moments, situations and consequences that these two histories intersected,” Kalin added.

According to Oxford Islamic Studies Online website, Kalin “has published widely on Islamic philosophy and the relations between Islam and the West”.

His book Islam and the West received the 2007 Writers’ Association of Turkey award for best book, the website added.

Kalin also contributed to several encyclopedias including the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2nd edition, it added.

Kalin also criticized the perception that brings together Islam and violence or terrorism.

“Today, terrorism has become a leverage to attack Islam and to keep Muslim societies under pressure.

“Moreover, Muslims became victims twice when organizations such as al-Qaeda and Daesh attack,” he added.

Responding a question on the U.S. ban travel ban on specific Muslim countries, Kalin said Erdogan would have a phone conversation with President Donald Trump in the coming days and discuss the issue.