Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Erdogan wins referendum in Turkey ...

... and immediately pledges more constitutional changes if his party wins a third term next year.

The victory in the referendum was 58 per cent to 42 per cent, which is a decisive one but not a landslide, as described in the Washington Times article. Despite various statements by Prime Minister Erdogan about this being the end of tutelage, the way forward and even references to freedom and legality, the truth is that the new rules as voted through in the referendum gives politicians far greater powers over the army (a number of whose officers have been arrested recently for supposedly plotting coups but, quite possibly, in order to pre-empt any move they might make after this referendum) and, most importantly, the judiciary.
Many of the 26 amendments to the country's 1982 post-coup constitution garnered support from across the political spectrum, such as those promoting gender equality and union rights for public employees.

However, the proposed changes to the judiciary had sparked heated debate between the Islamic-rooted AKP and the nationalist and secular opposition parties that feared they would only consolidate the ruling party's power.

The judicial reforms will increase the number of justices on the nation's historically secular Constitutional Court from 11 to 17 while giving AKP-dominated institutions such as the parliament more power in appointing them.
Meanwhile, a long article by Claire Berlinski in the latest issue of Standpoint describes the gradual control of the media by the Turkish government, not complete, as we know from the story of those pictures of the Gaza flotilla, but ever more strident.

1 comment:

  1. As in Venezuela, if you call your power grabs "reform" the western media will credulously rebroadcast your propaganda and will treat your democratic critics with skeptical moral equivalence.