Turkish MPs approve constitution change

Turkish PM congratulates deputies for passing Constitution; says ‘people will have the final say’

Turkish lawmakers approved a new Constitution early Saturday as deputies completed voting on 18 articles.

A total of 339 MPs voted in favor of the law that will now head to a referendum that will likely be held in early April.The initial round of ballots on the reforms was completed after each passed with more than 340 votes.

A second round of voting on the 18 articles began Wednesday after almost three weeks of debates in parliament.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who also chairs the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, congratulated lawmakers for passing the constitutional changes.

“People will have the final say,” he told deputies.

“We have done our job. Now we convey the issue to its real owner, our people,” Yildirim said. “People’s vote will be the most accurate one.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli told lawmakers, “The Turkish nation will do its own evaluation and hopefully it will add to what have been achieved so far”

But main opposition leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, urged Turks to “spoil the game that was played in the parliament.

“The mistake that have been done in the parliament can be revoked by the people,” Kilicdaroglu said.

Proposed changes to the Constitution require a simple majority, or 51 percent, in the referendum.