A New Era in Turkish Politics


constitutional referendum was held throughout Turkey on 16 April 2017

First, what is a constitution? 

It is a set of rules that guides how a country works. The constitution decides which branches the government should have, the power each department has and how it should work. The constitution also lists the fundamental rights each citizen of a country has. The constitution can be changed or amended at a later date but it’s not a quick or easy process to do that.

What’s a referendum? 

It means an election or general vote that answers a particular question. The good thing about a referendum is that everyone has a say in the decision.

So, why did Turkey hold a referendum?

The current President Elect Erdogan and ruling Justice and Development Party wanted to make 18 changes to the existing Turkish Constitution. The referendum was held so that the citizens of Turkey could vote “Yes” or “No” to these changes. The changes proposed to the constitution by the ruling party are as follows:

  • The existing parliamentary system of government would be replaced with a powerful executive presidency.
  • There would no longer be a Prime Minister. Instead, the President would drop all ceremonial powers and take over actually running the country.

     In India, the Prime Minister has the actual powers, and the President of India doesn’t. The US doesn’t have a Prime Minister. They only have a President. 

  • The President would also be able to select his whole cabinet and two thirds of the senior judiciary
  • The President would be allowed to issue laws – something no one in this position has been able to do before.

President Ergodan and the Prime Minister declared victory  51–49% lead for the “Yes” vote.  This move will give wide-ranging powers to the President. It is seen as a new era in Turkish politics. Some critics see this as a steady move from Democracy to an Autocracy – a system of government by one person with absolute power.

  • Recent Referendum – BREXIT – Britain voted to leave the European Union.
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