A historic referendum is being voted on in Turkey that would expand Erdoğan’s powers.
April 16, 2017, sees Turkey pitted in a “hotly contested referendum” that would ultimately grant more power to President Tayyip Erdoğan if the vote swings toward “Yes”, Reuters reports.
At this point, opinion polls are giving a narrow lead to the “Yes” vote. In the result of a “Yes” vote, Turkey’s parliamentary democracy would be replaced by an all-powerful, potentially dictatorial, presidency. Under this circumstance, Erdoğan would be in office until 2029, at the very least.
Turkey’s relationship with the European Union is extremely strained at this point in time and the vote will help shape their interactions to come. Erdoğan is threatening to potentially open the floodgates as far as immigrants from the Middle East go – this stance will be under review following the vote.
Opponents say it is a step towards greater authoritarianism in a country where around 40,000 people have been arrested and 120,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs in a crackdown following a failed coup last July, drawing criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups.
Relations between Turkey and Europe hit a low during the referendum campaign when EU countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies in support of the changes. Erdogan called the moves “Nazi acts” and said Turkey could reconsider ties with the European Union after many years of seeking EU membership.
The major takeaway from this referendum should be that Erdoğan – if the vote goes in his favor – will become one of the more frightening world leaders with the potential of leading a new totalitarian government.
Erdoğan is on the brink of crafting a dictatorship.