Voting ‘yes’ in charter referendum could support Turkey’s anti-terror fight: Turkish Deputy PM

Voting “yes” in the upcoming constitutional change referendum aiming to shift Turkey to an executive presidential system of governance could be interpreted as support for the country’s fight against terror, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stated on Jan. 29.

“‘Yes’ votes emerging from the ballot box also mean support for the fight against terror. Those who want ‘no’ votes should not make ill-intentioned comments … If a ‘yes’ vote emerges, it means ‘yes’ to the maintenance of this anti-terror fight in a more effective way,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk on Jan. 29.

He had recently been harshly criticized for claiming that a “yes” vote in the referendum would put an end to terrorism, warning that there could be a rise in attacks before the vote in order to prevent the “yes” side winning.

But on Jan. 29 Kurtulmuş again linked the referendum to the anti-terror campaign.

“God willing, a ‘yes’ vote would lead to the opportunity for a new spirit and psychology in the anti-terror fight. Gathering executive power in one pair of hands could lead to quicker and more effective decisions in the anti-terror fight, also in the economy and other areas,” he said.

Turkey is currently preparing to hold the charter referendum in April, after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the amendments on Jan. 21 in parliament. Two rounds of intense debates and physical brawls between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition deputies occurred during parliamentary talks.

The 18-article package, which seeks to shift Turkey’s governance from the current parliamentary system to an executive presidential system, will be put to the public vote officially after a final decision from the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stated on Jan. 25 that he believed the exact date would be declared within the week.