Turkish Parliament approves referendum to increase power of President Erdogan

The Turkish parliament has passed a motion that would greatly strengthen the powers of the President of Turkey if passed in a referendum.

The motion comes half a year after a failed coup in which factions of the Turkish army sought to return Turkey to its secular roots. The aftermath of the coup saw purges across Turkish institutions, with tens of thousands of police, teachers, journalists, and academics being imprisoned or fired.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of staging the coup in a bid to strengthen his control over the Turkish state, while he blames Fethullah Gülen, a former Imam living in the United States for inciting the revolt.

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Turkish citizens flocked to the street of July 15th to protest against the coup.

Since then, Erdogan has declared a state of emergency, where he has also proposed reintroducing the death penalty, further alienating him from Western leaders. The death penalty in Turkey was abolished in Turkey in 2002 as part of its bid to join the European Union.

If passed in the referendum, the position of Prime Minister would be abolished, and the President would have the ability to declare laws, as well as dissolve the parliament. It could also keep Erdogan in power until 2029.

Turkish opposition leaders have said that they would campaign strongly against the proposed amendments.

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