Public in Turkey will participate in a referendum which would be historic in its results and the consequences it would have for the political future of a country engaged in many conflicts in the region. Country's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been working, since long and especially after the failed coup of July 2016 to concentrate power in the hands of the president by amending the current constitution where the Parliament is the major source of authority.
Earlier in the campaign, Erdoğan's fellow ministers travelled to Europe to incite the nationalistic feelings of the Turkish citizens in European countries and succeeded to a certain extent. The Turkish abroad have already cast their vote on the referendum and on April 16, people at home will cast their votes which will decide on the political fate of AK Party and its leaders. Given the scope of the campaign, it is likely that Mr. Erdoğan and the ruling party would see their star on descending if a vote of 'No' comes out of the ballot boxes. To examine the consequences of both 'Yes' and 'No' votes, Payman Yazdani asked Mr. Osman Faruk Loğoğlu for an analysis of the conditions in Turkey just before the referendum of Sunday:
What are justifications presented by AKP for YES vote for changes in constitution? What are the deficiencies of existing parliamentary system?
The “yes” camp claims it will make the regime “more efficient, stream-lined and more responsive to popular will.” They assert that the President – now elected by direct suffrage – must have “commensurate authority.” They declare that the Presidential system is “the answer to all the problems and challenges the country is facing at home and abroad.” They argue that the parliamentary system is too slow to meet Turkey’s needs and that the lines of authority are unclear and create dualities between the Council of Ministers and the Presidency.
Is there any other reasons and political motives which would act as a cover for hidden motives sought by ruling party?
The driving motive of AKP regarding the referendum is to concentrate all power in the hands of the Presidency. This means, he will be able to issue executive orders with the force of law, abrogate the parliament at will, appoint judges and bureaucrats at his pleasure, make the national budget and do just about everything else. This will, according to their logic, keep them in power for a long time to come, enable them to pursue their policies and protect them against political and legal challenges.
What will be the effects of possible YES or No vote on Turkey's domestic and regional foreign policy?
A “yes” vote will mean the continuation of current policies in Turkey’s external relations. These policies have led to the isolation of Turkey and deep tensions in its relations within and beyond the region. A “no” vote on the other hand might compel the Government to take some steps to ameliorate Turkey’s foreign relations, particularly with the US and the EU. This might be the case for political, economic and security reasons and the only way the ruling party can try to make up for its defeat in the referendum.
Interview by: Payman Yazdani