POLITICS >Main opposition CHP leader calls for ‘defense of democracy’ by voting ‘No’ in Turkey’s referendum


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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said the government-supported constitutional amendment shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system will “demolish democracy,” calling on citizens to “defend democracy by saying ‘no’ in the referendum.”

“The 20 most developed countries, apart from the U.S., are governed by parliamentary systems. The 20 countries at the bottom of the list are governed by presidential systems,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in the Black Sea province of Ordu on March 20.

He added that the constitutional amendment would “demolish the democratic system in Turkey and harm civilization.”

“The only Muslim country that has a developed democracy is Turkey. None of the other Islamic countries have a republic. Now we are turning round and destroying the republic. Why?” Kılıçdaroğlu said, stressing that “development and prosperity” are closely related to the democratic system.

“If ‘no’ votes prevail, the Turkish nation will give an example of a discourse that says ‘we are loyal to democracy.’ It will give a message that says ‘we have many problems, stop lingering on these unnecessary things and solve the problems of this country,’” he added.

“If you say that a leader of a political party should appoint judges and prosecutors, then you should vote ‘yes.’ But if you do not want politics to interfere with the judiciary, then you should vote ‘no,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The CHP head outlined a series of objections to the charter, stressing that the president will have the power to annul the parliament, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continues to insist that the article does not give the president the authority to annul parliament but just to demand a re-election.

“They say it is not a dissolution [of parliament] but rather a re-election. But in order to go to an election, you have to dissolve parliament, don’t you? Will there need to be any reason for that? No. This is not right,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu also claimed that if the “yes” votes prevail, the 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey will be naturalized as Turkish citizens by the government.

“The first thing they will do if the ‘yes’ votes prevail is to give citizenship to Syrians. If ‘no’ votes prevail they cannot do so. If you say ‘let my children be unemployed, let the small tradesmen become poor,’ you will vote for ‘yes,’” he said.


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