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Turkish parliamentary committee backs new powers for president

A Turkish parliamentary commission has cleared a set of draft constitutional amendments that would greatly expand the powers of the president.

The constitutional commission approved the reforms that would turn the largely ceremonial presidency into one where the president enjoys full executive powers early on Friday.

A vote in the general assembly is expected to take place next month, with a possible referendum in the spring.

Critics fear the proposed reforms would allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who already has strong influence over his party and the levers of government, to rule unchecked.

If approved, the amendments would also extend Mr Erdogan's mandate.

The reforms were approved at the end of 10 days of tense debate between the committee's ruling party and main opposition party members.

AP

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