Turkey: Referendum Result Marks Break with Past
Voters in Turkey gave strong backing to constitutional changes in a September 12 referendum. The result put the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a strong position heading into parliamentary elections next year, while perhaps signaling the end of an era in Turkey, one in which the military acted as the enforcer of secularism.
The vote, which occurred on the 30th anniversary of the country's last military coup, approved a series of constitutional changes by a 58 percent-42 percent margin. [For background see EurasiaNet's archive].
Turnout was reported at 77 percent, but in one area, a district in far eastern Turkey inhabited mainly by Kurds, only 4 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
The key constitutional changes give the government greater control over shaping the composition of the judiciary. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had campaigned for the constitutional amendments by casting them as a repudiation of the legacy of the military's involvement in Turkish politics. Critics say the amendments will enable the moderate Islamist AKP to make a radical departure from the modern Turkish state's secular tradition.
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