Campaigning for Turkey referendum hits final stretch

Violet Powell
April 16, 2017

This is the seventh referendum to be held since the modern Turkish republic formed in 1923 and arguably the most significant since multi-party politics were introduced in 1946.

Results are expected late on Sunday evening.

Turkey's judiciary would be among those to suffer the most.

Under the new system, the president would no longer have that limit. The US missile attack not only further undermined US-Russian relations, but also upset the fragile balances in the Middle East, calling into question the Astana talks on peace in Syria. According to these amendments, the office of the Prime Minister would be abolished and the existing parliamentary system of government would be replaced with an executive presidency and a presidential system, the number of seats in Parliament would be raised from 550 to 600, the age requirement to stand as a candidate in an parliamentary election would be lowered from 25 to 18, authorities of Judicial-Legal Council would be changed and etc. Also noticeable, the many posters supporting the Turkish President and the "Yes" campaign granting broad new powers.

Turkish democracy is on life support.

A "Yes " vote would put the country in danger, he said. Voting overseas was completed last week, with 1.3 million people voting.

Sunday's ballots will have two sides with two different colors, and voters will indicate their choice by voting either Yes on the white side of the paper or No on the brown side.

Citizens will go to over 167,000 polling stations nationwide. It won 11.9 percent of the vote in the last election in 2015. "We will finish what we started on July 15 this April 16", he told a crowd in Istanbul's Tuzla district, decked with Turkish flags and giant pictures of the president.

The law imposes a token financial penalty on eligible voters who do not vote. Either way, Turkey is headed for tougher times says Seker.

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"Whatever the outcome, there won't be a respite from the growing authoritarianism" of Erdogan, said Wolfango Piccoli, the London-based co-president of political risk advisory Teneo Intelligence. Hundreds of news outlets and non-governmental organizations have been shut down.

Concern over the fairness of the campaign is increasingly being voiced. "The entire resources of the state were at disposal to support the "Yes" campaign of the AK Party".

Opponents of changing the system of governance were denied equal airtime and faced threats.

In a bid to prevent any last-minute schism with the MHP, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said he would resign if there was any move towards a federal structure for Turkey. Last month, he lashed out at Germany for using "Nazi tactics" and called the Dutch "fascists" and "Nazi remnants" for blocking efforts to campaign for the referendum in the Netherlands.

Out of the previous six referendums that Turkey has held since 1961, three have been on new constitutions, which were voted on in 1961, 1982 and 2010.

This only underscores that Erdogan's strongest suit in the referendum is not his own position, but the hypocrisy of Ankara's United States and European imperialist allies.

Critics and analysts such as the Venice Commission, part of the Council of Europe, a 47-nation pact of European countries including Turkey, say it's "a risky step backwards in the constitutional democratic tradition of Turkey", warning of "the dangers of degeneration of the proposed system towards an authoritarian and personal regime". They say a stronger government will be better at fighting terrorism; the country has suffered several recent attacks.

Turkey could turn its back on their 54-year campaign to join the EU after Brexit exposed the weakness of the disintegrating union, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief adviser Ilnur Cevik said.

Supporters reject these charges and say it is the only way forward for attaining stability and more prosperity in the country.

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