Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday approved a constitutional reform bill, paving the way for a referendum which could bring about an executive presidential system.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved on Friday a constitutional change bill that paves the way for a referendum in April.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved on Friday a constitutional change bill that paves the way for a referendum in April.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a constitutional reform bill, paving the way for an executive presidential system. The bill will be sent to the Prime Ministry to be published in the Official Gazette, setting the date for a vote.

The Turkish parliament approved the 18-article bill last month with 339 votes in favour, nine more than what was needed to put the proposals to a referendum.

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar has more from Ankara.

"With the president's approval, eyes are now on the High Election Board (YSK). The YSK will probably announce that April 16 is the appropriate date for a referendum," said Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, reiterating the likely date mentioned by the Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag a day earlier.

Kurtulmus said the Turkish people, including those who will vote "yes" or "no", will express their opinion in the referendum.

"I hope that this election campaign will continue in line with the mature democracy of Turkey," he said.

President Erdogan says the reform will provide stability at a time of turmoil and prevent a return to the fragile coalitions of the past. But critics say the reforms will give excessive powers to the president.

If the changes pass the referendum, the first of simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies