Turkey goes to the polls for referendum on presidential powers

Turkish citizens will cast their votes today on a series of constitutional amendments that, if passed, would see the office of the President expanded and empowered.

Under the proposed legislation, the position of Prime Minister would be abolished, concentrating the legislative and executive branches of the government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Opponents of the referendum have criticized it as anti-democratic, as Erdogan would be able to stay in power until 2029.

The referendum also comes less than a year after a failed coup that saw Erdogan declare a three-month state of emergency, later extending it. The state of emergency was accompanied with purges in the military, education institutions, and media organizations.

Campaigning by Turkish ministers in Europe in favour of the referendum have strained relations between Turkey and the E.U., with a ban placed on several Turkish ministers from entering the Netherlands, and a diplomatic row between Turkey and Germany.

Recent polling has placed the “Yes” vote ahead with around 51% of the vote.

(Image: Politico Europe)


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