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Reforms dividing Turkey?

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara is seeking to destroy the balance of power through constitutional reforms, an opposition leader said.

Ankara is considering a package of 26 proposals to amend a constitution drafted under the military authority that followed a coup in 1980. The amendments to the Turkish constitution would change the structure of the court system by moving the power from the military and into the hands of the president and prime minister, both from the ruling Justice and Development Party.

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Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People's Party, said in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel that the reforms were authoritarian.

"The government's draft proposal would essentially eliminate the balance of powers," he complained.

Apart from reforms meant to move Ankara closer to membership in the European Union, Turkish leaders are attempting to resolve long-standing issues with the Kurdish minority.

Despite differences over administrative and cultural issues in Turkey, the opposition leader said he would never sit down with the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party.

"They are terrorists," he said.

Kilicdaroglu was appointed as leader of his party in May.

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