Sunday, September 12, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Turkey backs constitutional changes

With nearly all votes in the referendum counted, about 58% had voted "Yes" to amending the constitution.


In all, the reform package includes 26 amendments to the 1982 constitution, many of them backed by the EU.

Civilian courts will have the power to try military personnel for crimes against the state, while sacked military officers will have the right to appeal against their dismissal.

Gender equality will be strengthened, and discrimination against children, the old and disabled banned.

Workers will be allowed to join more than one union and the ban on politically motivated strikes will be removed.

In parliament, elected lawmakers will be able to stay on if their party is disbanded by the court.

The first thing that struck me was an institutional/elections issue:  voters were presented with a package of 26 amendments for which they could only vote yes or no en masse, which confounds the question of exactly what voters were voting for or against.

The second thing that is striking is that while the governing party in Turkey has its basis in political Islam, these are all liberalizing reforms that moves Turkey closer to the west, not the other way around.  This should be underscored for so many who argue things like the ridiculous “Turkey is lost to the West” assertions that were bubbling up a a year or so ago.  Second, they should also underscore that democracy and Islam can function side-by-side.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports:  Turkey says ‘yes’ in referendum, hands AKP major triumph

The overall turnout in the referendum was around 77 percent, an indication that the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP’s, call to boycott the vote was influential.

The amendments will change the structure of two crucial judicial institutions, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges, or HSYK, while also making reforms – such as strengthening the rights of women and children – that are likely to help Turkey in its negotiation process with the European Union.

The European bloc, which Turkey seeks to join, openly supported the amendments.

The paper also has the following:  What will the constitutional changes mean for Turkey?

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