Constitutional referendum in Turkey: Will the country turn into presidential republic?


Constitutional referendum in Turkey: Will the country turn into presidential republic?

Another country, incomparably more powerful and economically stronger than Moldova, is turning into a presidential republic steering away from the parliamentary system. Tomorrow the outcome will be known. Turkey is holding a constitutional referendum. Supporters of the changes see this is a sign of stability in a period of turmoil. Indeed, in recent years, Turkey was not only a rapidly growing economy and a mecca for millions of vacationers, tourists and beachgoers (including from Belarus), but also a region of tension, the country from which news often come about bombings, refugees and coup attempts.

We must pay tribute to the Turkish leader Erdogan, who has managed so far to keep the power, political stability in the country and, realizing that he enjoys the support of a large part of the people he moved on to a presidential form of government. Our special correspondent Olga Petrashevskaya asked about Turkish sentiment on the eve of the referendum.

Olga Petrashevskaya, CTV special correspondent:
The constitutional referendum in Turkey before the start of the vote was marked by a very interesting numerical collision. On 16 April 2017, 18 amendments will be made to the Constitution. However, 1 still remains the main figure. It is one person - the president - who will get the full powers if people approve the decision.

The referendum is topic number one in Turkey. At stake are historical changes.

Onder Demir, seller:
Our Constitution is outdated: it was adopted many years ago, so I think that the changes are necessary, at least in order to keep up with the times.

Today Turkey has a constitution that was adopted after a military coup in the 1980s. Supporters of the change say that it as the army rule heritage and see the juice of changes in strengthening the political system. If voters on April 16 say "yes" at the referendum, the country will be transformed from a parliamentary republic to the presidential one. And all the branches of power will be concentrated in the hands of the President.

Onder Demir:
Almost all my friends are for that. Decisions will be made faster, at least in the same court cases. Today proceedings in our country may last for years and now it will certainly be faster because it will all pass through the hands of one person.

In the case of the adoption of the amendments, the prime minister's post in Turkey will be abolished, and the right to form the government, as well as to dissolve Parliament will be transferred to the president. The arguments of those who are for the changes: the ruling system will be simpler, and political reaction much faster, which is quite important for the country that lives from a coup to explosion.

Halil Yıldırım, political activist:
Of course, I am for the changes! And my position is very much influenced by the coup attempt last summer. It was a great danger for the whole country. We could just lose Turkey! It is strange that some did not still understand that. But we were able to keep the situation only thanks to the will of our leader. Turkey now has a two-headed system of government: the president and the prime minister. All decisions pass through one person and then through the other. So let it be one head - it's much easier.

Those who are not ready to accept the political renewal are not satisfied, including by the fact that the coming vote is firmly tied to religion.

Yurdagül, political activist:
My faith has nothing to do with the referendum. And my father prays 5 times a day and he will not do it more or less often depending on the results of the voting. But some try to say that if you are a believer, you have to say "yes".

The list of potential amendments to the Constitution is reduction of the minimum age to 18 years for deputies, who will no longer be required to serve in the army. By the way, do not forget against what background the vote will be held. Turkey still have the state of emergency in force, and this week, there was an explosion in Diyarbakir. So some see the consolidation of powers as a sign of increased security.

Nuray, villager:
We will vote for the changes, because we think about the future of our children. Now it is not the time for people to think for a long time about a particular decision, because war may begin at any moment. I have a big family, and the husband decides on everything, and nobody argues. But we can rely on him and he will be held accountable if anything happens.

The public approval of the amendments to the Constitution is directly associated with the support of the incumbent president. The word "for" is written under his portraits. By the way, in November 2016 Erdogan visited Belarus and met with Alexander Lukashenko, but the two countries are bound also by multilateral business relations.

Erdoğan Gündüzpolat, businessman:
For many years I have cooperated with your country, and I was very sad when the partnership between Belarus and Turkey was only understood in terms of export-import. We were able to implement a lot in your Hi-Tech Park, the level of IT specialists in Belarus is very high and I hope that we will open a joint engineering company.