Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Yes or No? Final day of campaigning before tight Turkey vote

This referendum is their fourth trip to the polls since expatriates were permitted to vote in Turkish elections while overseas. No question is written on the ballot paper and it is assumed that the people know what they are voting for.

The President will also be able to declare a state of emergency without necessary cabinet approval and to draft the budget, which is now drawn up by Parliament.

The Economist, while acknowledging that "Turkey is sliding into dictatorship" and "Erdogan is carrying out the harshest crackdown in decades", warns in its current issue that "as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and a regional power, Turkey is too important to cut adrift".

If passed, the new presidential system will implement the most radical political shake-up in Turkey's recent history, dispensing with the office of the prime minister and centralizing the entire executive bureaucracy under the presidency. Erdogan is a right-wing nationalist in the same vein as non-Muslim leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin or Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Approval could see him stay in office until 2029.

April the giraffe in NY giving birth before online audience
Tens of thousands of people at all hours tune into the YouTube channel for the moment April goes into labor. While the AAP staff are extremely busy, they assured the public that everything is fine.

Ankara has declared its "full support" for the Trump administration's decision to escalate the war for regime change in Syria, while Russian Federation and Iran, Turkey's partners in the Astana talks, condemned the strike against the Syrian government. Erdogan resigned from the party when he became president. Parliament's powers of scrutiny would also change. The final decision would rest with the constitutional court, composed nearly entirely of the president's appointees. "Two days ago the president compared himself with an Islam prophet". In theory, each institution could keep the other in check by keeping a finger on the eject button: the president and the parliament would be able to cut short each other's mandates, as well as their own, by calling early elections. Founded in 1923, the Turkish republic did not hold its first multiparty elections until 1946. Erdogan's supporters reject such charges, saying the 18 constitutional amendments being put to a simple "Yes/No" vote contain sufficient checks and balances, such as the provision that a new presidential election would be triggered should the president dissolve parliament.

The pressure came from Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who has backed Erdogan's bid for expanding presidential powers and is an ally in the campaign ahead of the vote on Sunday. The new constitution would make the justice system even more beholden to Mr Erdogan and his party.

The opposition has complained of a lopsided campaign, with Erdogan using the full resources of the state and the governing party to dominate the airwaves and blanket the country with "yes" campaign posters. He also appealed to voters of other parties to approve the changes so "Turkey can leap into the future". An emergency rule decree has removed the Supreme Electoral Board's powers to fine media who do not provide impartial coverage.

Security efforts have been heightened ahead of the vote, but Kurdish militants on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a police compound in southeast Turkey that killed three people.

More than 33,500 police officers will be on duty in Istanbul alone.

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