Turkish legislators scuffle in debate over Erdogan's powers

Associated Press | Published: 09:05, Jan 12,2017

 
 
Turkey

Ruling Justice and Development Party and main opposition Republican People's Party legislators scuffle in Turkey's parliament during deliberations over a controversial package of constitutional amendments that would greatly expand president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, in Ankara, Turkey, January 11, 2017. Lawmakers were seen pushing each other and exchanging blows during a round of voting on Wednesday. — AP photo

Scuffles have erupted between ruling and opposition legislators in Turkey's parliament during deliberations over a controversial package of constitutional amendments that would greatly expand president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

Lawmakers on Wednesday were seen pushing each other and exchanging blows during a round of voting.

The opposition accuses the ruling party of breaching constitutional rules that call for a secret ballot. Several ruling-party legislators have been displaying their votes, leading to accusations that the party is pressuring them to vote in favour of the amendments and is curbing their ability to vote independently.

Erdogan has long pushed for the amendments, insisting that a strong leadership will make Turkey stronger.

Critics fear that the changes will give Erdogan too many powers with few checks.

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