Turkey’s referendum: Erdogan consolidates perpetual power


With Turkey’s historic referendum on 16th April, President Recep Tayyop Erdogan is poised to take a giant leap of enjoying vast dictatorial powers until at least 2029.

Turkey is geographically connected to Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria through  abridge at Istanbul that also connects Europe with Asia. One can see giant banners of Turkish president  and the slogan “Evet” means Yes for changing the 18 constitutional provisions that will convert Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential democracy, abolishing the prime minister’s post and granting extensive executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey which was once an Ottoman Empire where  the ruler claimed the powers of Caliphate that was defeated in the first Worlds War and later Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ruled over the country in an enlightened manner by introducing secular government and cosmopolitan culture  and even replaced the Arabic alphabet with the Roman script. Erdogan came to power in 2003 as prime minister and as president since 2014.

The present transformation underway in the referendum will drastically change Turkey again into an Islamic State that may have serious consequences for the world.

This move follow the failed coup in July 2016, which Erdogan has blamed on Fethullah Gulen ,an Islamic cleric living in the United States. A state of emergency still persists in turkey and 50,000 people have since been arrested on various charges of sedition and terrorism. Over 100,000 people lost their jobs in education and public sector. Many news organizations have been shut down and others are forced to toe the government line.

Erdogan claims that the transformation of Turkey is necessary to address the security challenges and fragile coalition governments of the past. The referendum will have a vast impact on Turkey-European Union relations as Erdogan branded Germany and the Netherlands as Nazis for not having allowed  his Turkish ministers to campaign for the “yes” vote.

Yes vote will enable…

  1. The President to appoint cabinet ministers, issue decrees
  2. The President to dissolve parliament.
  3. The President  will be able to prevent competition from within the party and push to change the law setting presidential term limits.
  4. The president to veto legislation.
  5. The President to appoint general prosecutors and almost  half of the Supreme court justices.
  6. The procedure for lifting presidential immunity will become more complicated.

Erdogan told his supporters that the new Constitution would “bring stability and trust that is needed for our country to develop  and grow. “He further said,” Turkey can leap into the future.”

But opponents are of the view that its is a move towards greater authoritarianism in a country,  virtually establishing one-man rule without checks and balances of other presidential systems.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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