The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed into law constitutional amendments aimed at giving him sweeping new powers under an executive presidency. The reforms are deeply divisive, with supporters saying they will strengthen democracy, while critics warn of dictatorship. Turks will decide in a referendum set for April 16. Doubts over its fairness are growing among opponents of the reforms, who claim a crackdown against them already has started. Leading right-wing politician Meral Aksener recently spoke at a rally to oppose the presidential constitutional reforms. The meeting ended up being held in darkness after the electricity to the venue was mysteriously cut. Aksener said she had little doubt the blackout was deliberate, shouting to the audience, “President, what you are afraid of, me as a woman opposing you and your powerful state. We look for democracy in darkness and hopefully on April 16th we will find democracy coming out of the ballots,” she later said to reporters.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Turkey.
Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on replacing its parliamentary system with the stronger presidency long sought by incumbent Tayyip Erdogan, electoral authorities announced on Saturday. The proposed constitutional reform would mark one of the biggest changes in the European Union candidate country’s system of governance since the modern republic was founded on the ashes of the Ottoman empire almost a century ago. It would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, and appoint ministers and top state officials. It could also see Erdogan remain in power in the NATO member state until 2029. Erdogan’s supporters see the plans as a guarantee of stability at a time of turmoil, with Turkey’s security threatened by the wars in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and by a spate of Islamic State and Kurdish militant attacks.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday began campaigning for constitutional reforms that would greatly expand the powers of his office, only hours after a vote in parliament cleared the way for a national referendum on the issue. Speaking in Istanbul, he hailed the assembly’s early-morning decision saying a more powerful presidency will catapult Turkey to a position of strength. “God willing the people will give the true decision, the final decision,” Erdogan said. After an all-night session capping almost two weeks of acrimonious debate, Turkish lawmakers passed the controversial set of 18 articles. The measures still need to be approved in a national plebiscite slated for April. The bill would abolish the role of the prime minister and introduce a presidential system that critics fear lacks effective checks and balances. A change to the presidential system would be a crowning achievement for Erdogan, who has outmaneuvered and crushed all his major foes. The reforms would potentially allow him to remain in power until 2029.
Turkey edged closer to adopting a constitutional bill extending President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers overnight, with parliament approving four more articles of a reform which opponents see as a step towards an authoritarian state. Erdogan, who could rule the European Union candidate country until 2029 if the legislation is passed, says it will provide stability at a time of turmoil and prevent a return to the fragile coalitions of the past. During the evening debate an independent lawmaker, Aylin Nazliaka, handcuffed herself to the podium in protest against the stronger presidency, triggering a scuffle between MPs of the ruling AK Party and opposition parties. The reform would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament – powers that the two main opposition parties say strip away balances to Erdogan’s power.
Turkey’s parliament approved the first seven articles in a second round of voting overnight on a constitutional bill that will extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, keeping the reform on course for a spring referendum. The two largest opposition parties in parliament say the 18-article bill, which could enable Erdogan to rule until 2029, will fuel authoritarianism in the NATO member and European Union candidate country. The ruling AK Party, backed by the nationalist MHP, says it will bring the strong executive leadership needed to prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past.
Turkey’s parliament has voted in favour in a first round ballot on a constitutional bill that will extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, which opposition politicians say could put the country at risk of growing authoritarianism. The assembly approved the final 18th article of the package late on Sunday and according to parliament regulations will now take a two-day break from the talks before a second round of voting during which any changes to the articles will be debated.
The failed July 15 military coup in Turkey was a long time in the making. Its aftermath is the final act in what may be viewed as the devolution of Turkish democracy into an authoritarian state. Turkey is a country where citizens’ demand for democracy has steadily grown over the last 15 years. A long period of competitive parliamentary elections and political liberalization created hope that democracy had become enshrined in Turkey’s political culture. Everyday citizens embracing democratic governance as the only legitimate form of government are required for any democracy to be successful. When citizens do not demand democracy, preferring a strong authoritarian leader as in Russia, there is little hope for democracy to flourish. As part of the Comparative National Election Project at Ohio State University, we surveyed nearly 1,200 Turkish citizens about their views on democracy in early 2015. Respondents expressed a large demand for democratic governance. Three-quarters of respondents consistently rejected each of the four types of authoritarian rule (one-party, strong man, military, religious) about which we asked. About four out of five (78 percent) respondents stated that democracy was preferable over any other form of government.
Turkey’s Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, returning the country to single-party rule in an outcome that will boost the power of President Tayyip Erdogan but may sharpen deep social divisions. With almost all ballots counted, the AKP had taken just shy of 50 percent of the votes, comfortably enough to control a majority in the 550-seat parliament and a far higher margin of victory than even party insiders had expected. Erdogan said the outcome was a vote for stability, and a message to Kurdish insurgents in the country’s restive southeast that violence could not coexist with democracy. Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted simply “Elhamdulillah” (Thanks be to god), before emerging from his family home in the central Anatolian city of Konya to briefly address crowds of cheering supporters.
Less than half a year after losing its hold on Turkey’s parliament, the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party regained a decisive majority Sunday in a dramatic snap election. It marks a considerable political coup for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been at the helm of the country for 13 years and now looks likely to further entrench his rule. In the buildup to Sunday’s election, a vast majority of pollsters and political analysts predicted a hung parliament and anticipated a tricky process of coalition-building that would have complicated Erdogan’s own designs on power. But by nightfall on Sunday, Erdogan’s ruling party, also known by the Turkish abbreviation AKP, had taken almost 50 percent of the vote and was expected to form a single-party government once more. The result took many experts by surprise.
Confused Turks are asking “what’s the time?” after automatic clocks defied a government decision to defer a seasonal hour’s change in the time.
Along with other countries, Turkey had been due to “fall back” an hour on Saturday at the end of summertime daylight saving. The Turkish government however decided to postpone the change until after upcoming polls. But some clocks have changed the time regardless – causing bewilderment. The hashtag #saatkac – or “what’s the time?” – is now trending in Turkey as Twitter users express confusion. Along with countries in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone such as Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ukraine, and countries elsewhere, Turkey had been expected to add an hour to Sunday at the end of daylight saving time.