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POLITICS >Undecided voters to lean toward ‘yes’ vote in referendum: Deputy PM

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Voters who have yet to decide whether to support or oppose controversial constitutional amendments that would usher in an executive presidency with vastly enhanced powers for the head of state will start leaning toward the “yes” side, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said.

“There doesn’t seem to be a problem with the ‘yes’ votes. We see that the ‘yes’ votes will easily prevail in the referendum. There are undecided voters. We are at the beginning of the campaign. I think that undecided voters will lean towards ‘yes’ in the next 10 or 15 days,” Kurtulmuş told daily Milliyet on Feb. 17, adding that there were many undecided voters.

“It’s easier for the undecided voters to turn to ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’ because people mostly turn to the positive direction. I think that there will be an obvious and serious mobilization of votes in the next 10 or 15 days. We have two months [until the referendum]. I believe that it will pass easily,” he also said. 

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 to decide whether to endow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with many more powers or to protect the current parliamentary system.

The “yes” vote is endorsed by Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). 

There will not be any tension in the referendum campaign process, Kurtulmuş said, claiming that the process would be carried out “joyfully” instead.

“If Turkey hasn’t become a Syria or Yemen, it’s because there is a ballot box. I think that we will experience a joyful process. Everyone should be careful about that. It’s probable that the terrorist organizations may mobilize in this process and we are taking security measures against them,” he added.

During his interview, Kurtulmuş said a charter change could not be made in spite of the people. 

“You can stage a coup despite the will of the people. However, you can’t sustain it,” he said. 

Kurtulmuş also commented on highly debated comments from government officials and Erdoğan, who have branded the naysayers as “terrorists.”

“‘Every person who votes ‘no’ is a terrorist’ is not what our president and the prime minister say. What is being said is this: the senior figures of the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] are telling its network to struggle for a ‘no’ vote until the very end. The DHKP-C [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front] and the larger and small leftist groups are openly supporting the ‘no’ campaign. FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] is openly supporting the ‘no’ campaign. That’s what we are saying. The groups that are against Turkey are supporting the ‘no’ vote,” he also said. 

Commenting on the aspects of the new constitution, Kurtulmuş said it would be an “anti-coup” one. 

“The presidential government model will prevent all these deadlocks [previous coup attempts]. Decisions will be made by a single hand, and Turkey will go on its way. The most significant aspect of the changes is that it’s an anti-coup proposal. It’s a system that doesn’t allow coups,” he also said.

February/17/2017

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