This weekend has a huge significance for Turkey as Sunday the country will be voting on whether or not it wants to alter the power of the parliamentary form of government to a government with a strong presidency. Many believe that this vote could carry huge consequences for the “democratic traditions of this key U.S. ally. Turkey is a NATO member helping fight ISIS” (NPR). Likewise, if the vote passes this would mean that presidential power would be significantly more then its current position in the Turkish government. This would mean that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be provided with a longer grasp over his country and its governmental institutions. Current polls in Turkey has suggested that there is a slight lead for the more powerful presidency model of government, which is backed by Erdogan’s statement that at least there will be a 55% margin in favor of him claiming more power then he currently has.
The vote is being conducted at a perilous period of time as Turkey is still currently under a state of emergency due to the failed coup that occurred last July. The coup which failed led to the death of nearly 300 individuals. Because of the failed coup, the Government has issued a state of emergency which is still in effect to this day. Yet, the Erdogan Government has used this state of emergency to punish and ultimately purge the sectors of the military, judiciary and civil service. This has led to the firing and arresting of 100,000 workers most of them however, come from the media outlets therefore the civil services. As a result, many opponents of the vote have argued that “[i]n this atmosphere, … it’s difficult to run an effective campaign” (NPR). Yet many of the Government officials have referenced that France is currently having elections and they to are under a state of emergency due to the previous terrorist attacks that occurred there.
What are the pros and cons of this drastic switch in governmental power? Some of the proposed benefits to the switch are that it will provide stability as well as efficiency to a government system, which has been dealing with infighting. Furthermore, is that pro-presidential power supporters have referenced that this style of government would benefit in the fight against terrorism. Critics of this proposal have stated that the move to a stronger Presidential power would be a major step backwards for the state of Turkey in the constitutional democratic practice. Likewise, the critics also established the argument that this would lead to the more authoritarian style of government, which would break the current democratic style of government that it currently possess.
Now what will occur after the vote, more importantly if the vote goes in favor of the change in power holding? Well, most of the alterations that would be voted upon in this referendum would be activated in the year 2019 when the elections in Turkey occur. Yet two key aspects would actually be in effect once the referendum has concluded which are that Erdogan would reclaim his title of the head of the ruling party as well as gaining a new right which would allow him the power to “appoint members to the council that oversees the naming of judges and prosecutors” (NPR).