Referendum paves way for new stage in Turkey’s politics
April 20 2017 11:25 PM

Turkey is set to enter a new phase in its history and politics after a referendum that saw a number of constitutional changes approved by the people.
The majority of voters were in favour of the constitutional amendments that give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party the authority to change the country’s parliamentary system to a presidential one.
It will be the biggest change in the way the political system is run since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.
Erdogan succeeded in one of the bitterest political battles, something he is used to since he was mayor of Istanbul back in 1994.
The preliminary results show that the people have renewed their faith in Erdogan and his party.
The people supported Erdogan due to his economic achievements that saw Turkey become the world’s 16th strongest economy. The vote also reflected the people’s trust in the vision of Erdogan for the country’s future.
The victory, in addition to increasing the Justice and Development Party’s hopes of winning the 2019 election, will boost the chances of Turkey in joining the European Union.
The opposition does not look capable of holding onto power in the short- or the medium-term. The opposition’s warnings that Erdogan is undermining democracy in the country has not been well-received by the public.
Erdogan’s political prowess and experience in crisis management and election campaigns are all reasons for the success of his plans and for Turkish people to vote for him.
Erdogan seems to have learned from past lessons and, hence, was always keen on reiterating his commitment along with his party to secularism and to present the party as a moderate reformist that aims to establish a reconciliation between Islam and secularism.
The referendum results indicate that the Turkish people are handling political issues in a different way from the secular opposition despite their strong nationalism as they stood by democracy without restrictions.
However, the situation was different for the opposition which failed to mobilise the people against a wave of change that will transform Turkey’s status as a new regional and international power.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) which believes that changing to a presidential system is a move towards dictatorship was hardly present in ballot boxes and couldn’t get what it wished for and had to settle for the majority’s decision to vote in favour of the amendments.
The primary results of the referendum showed that 51.4% voted in favour, while 48.6% rejected it.

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