Issue Brief on “Turkey Referendum 2017: A Democratic Quest?”


“Don’t beat the air… it is too late now”. This was stated by President Erdogan, of Turkey in his post referendum victory speech. In one breath, he appeared to reach out to his opponents, calling the results a “victory of everyone who said yes and no.”[1] But in the next moment, he pledged to restore the death penalty[2] and derided the oppositions plan to contest the result.

On April 16, in a defining moment that the country’s opposition fears may fortify a system of authoritarian rule within a country considered one of the critical power brokers of the Middle East, a small majority of Turkish voters agreed to grant extensive powers to their president. The constitutional change will allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to assume full control of the government, ending the current parliamentary political system.

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