Turkey faces difficulties post-referendum challenges
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 6:00:00
(VOVworld) – Turkish citizens voted in a referendum on constitutional changes last week.With a margin of 1.3 million votes, 51.3% of voters were in favor of the constitutional changes of the nearly 99% of ballots counted. The changes increase the power of President Tayyip Erdogan.
With this result, the Turkish President will become the head of the government, authorized to propose budget collection and spending measures, issue decrees, and declare a state of emergency. The President will have the authority to appoint senior state officials and dissolve the Parliament. Turkey will have no Prime Minister for the first time in its history. The constitutional changes will allow Mr. Erdogan to serve two more terms until 2029 after his current term ends in 2019. Supporters of the changes insist that it will help to ensure political stability in Turkey amidst the current chaos, while the opposition described the changes as President Erdogan’s usurpation of power.
Following the release of the preliminary result of the referendum, a war of words has broken out. President Erdogan said this is the first time in history that the Turkish people have decided changes with their will and aspiration. Turkey will change its rules within a civil political system. Erdogan called on world powers to respect the result and urged Turkey’s allies to be more aware of Turkey’s “sensitive” issues in the fight against terrorism. The Republican People’s Party, the main opposition party, called for a recount of 60% of the ballots. Large numbers of Turks took to the streets to protest the result.
Turkey’s referendum drew close attention from other European countries. The Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe criticized the referendum as unfair. The Council of Europe called on Turkish leaders to proceed with caution. The European Commission said the narrow margin of the referendum demands that Turkey seek further national consensus because Turkey is currently facing economic and political instability, and a difficult migrant crisis.