Iraqi lawmakers concerned over ‘negative impact’ of presidential system in Turkey

Iraqi lawmakers have expressed concern over expected constitutional changes to Turkey’s political system following last Sunday’s victory for the ‘yes’ camp.

The 18-article constitutional reform will evolve Turkey into an executive presidential system, concentrating power in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and allowing him to rule by decree, appoint ministers and dissolve parliament.

Speaking to Rudaw, two lawmakers said the change would have a negative impact on the region and relations with Turkey.

“When all the powers are concentrated in the hands of one person, the system will usually pave the way for dictatorships,” Shi’ite lawmaker Salim Shawqi said, adding “I think the referendum outcome will have negative impact on Iraqi-Turkish relations. Parliamentary system is the best form of governance in this region.”

Kurdish deputy Muthanna Amin from the Islamic Union Party (Yekgirtu) said, “Turkey will have increased role in the region after the referendum and if Iraqi relations with Ankara remain strained, the outcome will be detrimental for Baghdad as some Iraqi parties have an antagonistic approach towards Turkey.”

Relations between Ankara and Baghdad were strained until recently with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi calling on Turkey to remove military forces’ training Sunni militias in Nineveh. Turkey threatened a ground operation into the country and pushed Baghdad on involving Turkish forces in the Mosul operation, which did not materialise.

Turkish officials have recently said said there are plans to launch military operations targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in Iraq.