Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum Divides Country, Opposition Cries Foul

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Opinion Column by Stephen Lendman
Turkey's Constitutional Referendum Divides Country, Opposition Cries Foul

by Stephen Lendman

On Sunday, Turks voted on whether to replace its parliamentary system with a presidential one – affording Erdogan virtual dictatorial powers.

He can now rule by decree, short of circumventing existing laws. He can declare emergency rule, appoint two vice presidents, ministers and regime officials, as well as dissolve parliament if he wishes and call new elections.

He has more control over Turkey's courts. His power-grab prevailed on Sunday by a 51.3 – 48.7% margin. Reported turnout was 84%.

The referendum was held under state of emergency conditions, following last July's failed military coup – tens of thousands imprisoned in its aftermath, over 130,000 purged from regime, academic and other public positions.

Project on Middle East Democracy Turkey expert Howard Eissenstat said "(j)udicial independence was already shockingly weak before
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