Turkish referendum

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, failed to persuade two thirds of the Turkish parliament to grant him more powers. So he has instigated a referendum on 16 April on 18 amendments to the constitution. This would, in effect, transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy to a presidential state. It would also facilitate him staying in power until 2029 and allow the president to have party political affiliations.

Turkish president

After the failed coup in July 2016 a state of emergency was declared. Purportedly to arrest those involved in the coup, hundreds of lawmakers and journalists opposed to the government were rounded up. Amnesty International has reported that tens of thousands of civil servants were dismissed, the main Kurdish daily newspaper, Özgür Gündem, was closed down and censorship imposed on websites and internet access.

Opposition parties are opposed to the constitutional changes and foresee presidential rule as a dictatorship.

The outcome of the referendum is predicted to be close. Here is a link to the BBC’s analysis of Erdoğan’s Turkey.