Turkey witnessed the one of the most defining moments in the history of modern world on Sunday when 51.3% of its citizens voted Yes in the referendum to expand the President’s power and role in the government. The country erupted in celebration and mourning simultaneously with the Yes camp people pouring on streets, singing songs in praise of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while the No camp people (who constitute a staggering 48.7%) beating pans and pots (a form of protest in Turkey). The election result was declared as the “most important reform in the history” by the President Erdogan, who after serving for ten years as Prime Minister was sworn in as President in 2014. Mr. Erdogan is the Founder and President of ruling Justice and Development Party, and holds conservative views which were voiced in his victory address to a massive and ecstatic crowd of followers involving a pledge to bring back Capital Punishment.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) August 7, 2016
Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak and President's Principal Advisor Mustafa Akış will visit Ankara Press Center of DGPI. pic.twitter.com/PBcDTInCj2
— Turkey PM Press&Info (@ByegmENG) April 16, 2017
Many political commentators and world leaders around the globe have commented on the referendum results, with several lending their support to the decision of majority and respecting their right to vote for themselves however pleas have been made to Erdogan to reconsider this referendum with European Union passing a statement asking the President “to seek the broadest possible national consensus in their implementation” as the victory was extremely close and can not be used to justify such major constitutional changes. People have also termed this situation the death of modern Turkey as envisioned by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
— Engin Esen (@EnginEsen) April 16, 2017
The opposition parties in Turkey however have rubbished the results as they claim the electoral commission of the country “changed the rules midway the game” when the decision to include Ballot papers without the stamps was announced while the voting was underway, making many invalid votes valid. At the time of filing of this report, the opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) has moved to challenge 60% of the votes. It is to be noted that three major cities of the country – Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir – voted no in the referendum.
— wolf piccoli (@wolfpiccoli) April 16, 2017
The vote has made it possible for Erdogan to stay in the office till 2029, with the present post of Prime Minister being scrapped away. The current PM of the nation Binali Yildirim has also called upon everyone to accept the results of the referendum and respect the wishes of majority. One major change that this referendum has brought will be the unguarded powers now vested in the position of the President, which till 2014 was more of a ceremonial post. It is to be seen what shall arise of this referendum in near future while critics have already called it the emergence of another tyrant in the already turbulent and tumultuous Middle East.