Turkey will vote in a momentous constitutional referendum on Apr. 16. If the proposed changes are approved by the public, the nation’s political system will shift from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım will meet with the Turkish people at Yenikapı in Istanbul for a rally in favor of the referendum.
The president and prime minister have been campaigning across Turkey. Erdoğan has signaled a brighter future ahead for Turkey, promising to overcome terrorism and deliver a united Turkey.
Polls indicate swift momentum swinging in favor of the ‘Yes’ campaign.
The ‘Great Istanbul Rally’ has drawn millions of citizens waving Turkish flags and ‘Yes’ signs, and the venue has been prepared accordingly.
Screens 100 square meters in size are emblazoned on the stage, and there are over 100 entrances to the venue.
Transportion, including more than 200 boats and ferries and 6,000 buses, are in service. Five thousand police, 700 health personnel and 70 ambulances are present at the venue.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) introduced the 18 proposed changes to the constitution with the support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Netherlands: Over 70,000 Turks vote in referendum
Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands were showing “great interest” in taking part in Turkey’s referendum, a diplomat told Anadolu Agency on Friday.Turkey's consul-general in Rotterdam, Sadin Ayyildiz, said 72,000 registered expatriates had voted since April 5.There are three polling stations in the Netherlands -- The Hague, Amsterdam and Deventer. The polls will be open until Sunday, April 9.Approximately 2.9 million Turkish expatriates will vote on proposed constitutional changes.According to the proposals, the country’s governing system would be replaced with an executive presidency.
Turkish citizens in Britain begin voting in referendum
Turks living in the U.K. started Thursday to vote in Turkey’s constitutional referendum.The voting by registered overseas citizens started Thursday morning at polling stations in London and Edinburgh.Turkish citizens who are registered to vote can cast their ballot at any foreign polling station as long as they prove their identity with a photographic ID which shows a Turkish ID number.Turkey’s Consul General in London, Cinar Ergin, told Anadolu Agency voting was continuing with no problems so far and Turkish expatriates had showed great interest in the referendum, which will be held in Turkey itself on April 16.Ergin said there were more than 90,000 registered Turkish voters in the U.K.“There are between 4,500 and 5,000 more registered voters in comparison to previous elections,” Ergin said.The polls at Hammersmith’s Novotel Conference Center and Edinburgh Consulate’s work office will remain open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time until Sunday, 9 April.Approximately 2.9 million Turkish expatriates will vote on proposed constitutional changes. This referendum will be their fourth trip to the polls since expatriates were permitted to vote in Turkish elections while overseas.According to the proposals, the country’s governing system would be replaced with an executive presidency.The other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts, and same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years.A Turkish president would also be allowed to retain ties to his or her political party.
Post-referendum rally in Turkish lira seen as likely
A 'Yes' victory in Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum will likely boost the Turkish lira, said a senior financial analyst Wednesday.Timothy Ash, a senior emerging market strategist at London-based BlueBay Asset Management, said a Yes victory would likely support the lira against foreign currencies and push Turkey’s Central Bank to sharply reduce its key rates.“If the outcome of the referendum on the 16th is market friendly, I think the currency could strengthen and probably we would see the Central Bank cutting rates aggressively in that environment,” Ash said.Saying that 2016 was a tough year for the Turkish economy, Ash added that inflation and the pass-through effect of the depreciating lira on inflation has been high due to the weak currency.“This year is probably when inflation would be coming down,” he said, adding that a Yes victory would be seen as a better choice for moderation in the markets and positive for the lira.“It’s possible to see inflation to peak in April-May, and then reduce. Still it will be around 8-9 percent by the end of the year. But it will be slightly better,” he said.Saying his base scenario for the referendum is a Yes victory, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who favors Yes -- has many times proved himself in election campaigns, Ash said this will let the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party “return to what it knows best, which is business.”“If there is a Yes vote, I think the markets hope that there will be moderation and normalization in domestic politics and we will see the Turkish lira strengthen. If it strengthens, we should give some space to the Central Bank of Turkey to cut some interest rates,” Ash said.But he warned that a possible No victory could lead to a negative market reaction and political uncertainty.“I guess initial market reaction would be negative; it would assume continued political instability. The consensus is that a No vote means early parliamentary elections,” he said.
PM talks up Turkish development at 'Yes' campaign rally
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Wednesday Turkey was undertaking the "world's biggest projects" despite the global economic crisis.Addressing a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party rally in western Izmir province ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional reforms, Yıldırım said the changes would help Turkish development."Since 2008 there has been a crisis in the world but Turkey is undertaking the world's biggest projects," he said, adding that 19,500 kilometers (12,100 miles) of dual carriageways had been built in the last 14 years."There were only six provinces linked to each other by dual carriageways, now there are 76. This is the difference made by the AK Party, this is the difference of service," he added."Civilization means service, it means roads," Yıldırım added as the foundation for a new highway between Menemen-Aliaga-Candarli was laid."This work cannot be done by hiding behind Atatürk with empty words. The right way to reach the goal of Ataturk is to carry Turkey to a level of modern civilization," he added.“The ‘road’ of the constitution is now like a village road; we need to change the constitution into a highway,” Yıldırım said.The Turkish premier said the Menemen-Aliaga-Candarli project in Izmir's north would be in service by Sept. 9, 2019.Yildirim added that six out of 35 projects announced for Izmir had been completed and seven would continue.The proposed constitutional changes have been discussed since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was voted president in August 2014.An 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposal to a referendum.The reforms would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, while the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.Other changes would see the minimum age of parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of lawmakers rise to 600.Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new constitution.