Turkish Referendum – Will this be another Islamist Dictatorship?

 In Foreign, opinion

For those who might naively think that Turkey’s national referendum vote today was just another normal election, here’s a wake up call: the people actually voted to do away with the position of Prime Minister, and give Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power.

Turkish referendum

The referendum contained 18 Constitutional changes, essentially changing Turkey from a Parliamentary form of government to a sort of presidential one. It would leave Erdogan in office until at least 2029. He insists that the changes are needed to make Turkey more streamlined so that it can have more “rapid development.”

LegalInsurrection reported,

“The referendum eliminates the prime minister post and gives Erdogan “new authority over the judiciary.” It also allows Erdogan to have an election in 2019 and the ability to “serve two five-year terms.”

But it basically leaves Erdogan’s office unchecked.”

The margin of Erdogan’s win is narrow, with 99% of the votes counted, the yes votes were 51.33%. The no votes were 48.67%. Opposition leaders are crying foul as they believe some of the ballots were fraudulent (possibly up to 2.5 million of them). The government changed the procedures for this referendum, and allowed ballots that had no official seal on them.

Opposition parties plan to contest anywhere from 37% to 60% of the votes.

Bloomberg reported,

At his victory speech late on Sunday, supporters chanted that he should bring back the death penalty — a move that would finish off Turkey’s bid to join the European Union — and Erdogan warned opponents not to bother challenging the legitimacy of his win. He told them to prepare for the biggest overhaul of Turkey’s system of governance ever, one that will result in him having even fewer checks on his already considerable power.

Erdogan Power grab?

After the failed coup in July, Erdogan arrested literally thousands of people under the pretext that they were part of the coup attempt.

He locked off Incirlik Airbase, where the US had nuclear weapons.

He accused the United States of harboring the “mastermind” of the coup attempt, Fethullah Gulen (an old enemy of Erdogan). They are still on that tactic, demanding he be turned over to them.

Essentially, he went on a power grabbing rampage. Does this referendum indicate a massive swing in the wrong direction? It appears so.

 

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