Constitutional referendum in Turkey


On April 16, a constitutional referendum will be held in Turkey. Citizens of the country must approve or reject the proposals promoted by the country's president Recep Erdogan. The main one is the country's transition to the presidential form of government. One of the impetus for the change of the constitution was the attempt of a military coup on July 15-16, 2016, its subsequent suppression and the growth of the popular support of President Erdogan. At the same time, experts note that plans to change the constitution have been hatched in the presidential environment for a long time.

What will be changed?

In fact, the new Constitution should legitimize the state of things, de facto, the sole authority of the country's president Recep Erdogan. If approved by the constitutional amendments, it will strengthen its sole authority. So, the president of the country will have the authority to declare a state of emergency, dissolve the parliament, appoint ministers, represent the budget, nominate the majority of judges of the highest courts and issue decrees that will receive the status of laws. The post of prime minister will be abolished, instead of it there will be several vice-presidents. The term, for which the president and parliament will be elected, will increase from 4 to 5 years. Erdogan will have the right to be elected for two consecutive terms in the new system.

The positions of supporters and opponents

According to public opinion polls, the positions of supporters and opponents of strengthening the presidential power (and in the current conditions - personally Erdogan), divided roughly equally. This means that a serious factor can be the Turkish diaspora, which the Turkish authorities have been trying to mobilize for months to support the reforms.

In support of reforms among the parliamentary parties are the ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Party of the National Movement. The Left-Kemalist People's Republican Party and the Kurdish People's Democracy Party are against it. The radical Kemalists from the party Vatan (Rodina) are also against it. Mass protests are possible on the basis of the results of the referendum and attempts to shake the situation in the country.

International Effect

The liberal international community stands up sharply against the referendum. This can be seen from the position of the world media. They perceive Erdogan as a dictator and see in his strengthening the threat to secular values not only in Turkey, but also in the region as a whole. The positive results of the referendum for Erdogan are likely to close, for at least for a time for Turkey, the prospect of joining the EU.

At the same time, relations with the US and NATO are unlikely to deteriorate. Erdogan is trying to build close relationship with the Trump administration and is getting close to Israel, which has serious leverage over the United States through the neocons. The United States in turn needs Turkey as an ally in Syria and for them it is extremely important to destroy the Moscow-Ankara-Tehran triangle that has developed in the last months of the Obama administration.

Russia, in turn, would like to preserve it, as well as strategic cooperation with Turkey. Therefore, this country will take a favorable attitude towards Erdogan's reforms.