Turkey Votes to Alter Presidential Powers

Hamish Shepherd, Writer

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Turkey has recently voted on the referendum submitted by the nation’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The referendum proposes an increase in the powers that Erdogan would have under the Turkish Constitution. The vote on the referendum was held on 4/16 and the new constitution passed with a small percentage difference. The changes to the constitution include: removing the office of prime minister, a five year presidential term with a maximum of two terms, the President being able to intervene with decisions made by the judiciary branch, and that a state of emergency status would have to be enacted by the president.

Protest to the results of the referendum are founded in the claims that the vote was tampered with by Erdogan. The protests point to unstamped ballots that would not count as legal and restriction on campaigns against the referendum. The referendum will still be enacted despite these protests.

The vote also furthered the already sizable split the country. The divide amongst President Erdogan’s supporters and his protesters has grown, as has celebration to the referendum and protests to Erdogan’s presidency.

Erdogan stated that the next goal is to bring back the death penalty back to Turkey. This is concerning to some since this change to the constitution would end all negotiations with the European Union (EU) to bring Turkey into the Union, as the EU is in the process of abolishing capital punishment.

As protests and arrests continue, the divide amongst the Turkish people keeps growing. Concern grows as people call the referendum a step towards ‘one man” rule of Turkey. Whether the future will validate this concern or if of the expansion the president’s power will benefit Turkey is yet to be seen.

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