Erdogan Wins a Tight Constitutional Referendum

Turkish voters backed constitutional reforms that would grant Erdogan sweeping new powers

Turkey’s historic constitutional referendum ended in a victory for the ‘Yes’ vote and the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to latest results, 51,41 percent voted ‘Yes’, with 48,59 of for ‘No’.

The ‘No’ vote was most prominent in major cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, while rural parts of the country voted overwhelmingly in favor of Erdogan’s constitutional reforms.

While the referendum was still a success for Erdogan, the ‘Yes’ option won only by a slim margin.

The proposed constitutional changes aim to abolish the office of the Prime Minister, give the President power to appoint and dismiss ministers, and also abolish the country’s military courts.

The changes to Turkey’s government will introduce a strong Presidential system. Erdogan delivered a strong victory speech in front of his supporters.

He said: “We’ve got a lot to do, we are on this path but it’s time to change gears and go faster … We are carrying out the most important reform in the history of our nation.”

“Our nation has made its decision and said yes to the presidential system. The ballot box result showed we will not bow to traitors and terrorists. Turkey has won; our nation has won.”

“We are brothers. We are one body, one nation. A new page has opened in our democratic history with this vote. Be sure that we will use this result for our people’s welfare and peace in the best way.”

On the other hand, Erdogan’s opponents challenged the voting procedure. Erdal Aksünger, vice chairman of the opposition Republican People’s party (CHP), said it would challenge 37% of the ballot boxes and accused Anadolu of publishing inaccurate results.

In response the outcome of the referendum, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said: “The tight referendum result shows how deeply divided Turkish society is, and that means a big responsibility for the Turkish leadership and for President Erdogan personally.”

In recent months, Turkey’s relations with the EU, and Germany have reached an all-time low. Erdogan and other Turkish high officials have accused Germany, as well as other European countries of using Nazi style means, after Turkish government officials were barred from attending pro-government rallies in several European countries.

Source: The Guardian, Reuters