For the past year, Turkish president Erdogan has been assuming broad new powers. Nevertheless, there was a national referendum today on “constitutional reforms” to grant the president even more new powers.
As we have mentioned before, there are many millions of Turks living in Europe and a significant percentage are eligible to vote in Turkish elections.
Erdogan’s AKP party has been in a diplomatic war with Germany and the Netherlands over the right to hold campaign events in those countries. This sparked a massive Turkish riot in the Netherlands last month.
The AKP has become increasingly radical over the last couple years. The party is now very much an Islamist and Turkic ethno-nationalist party. Turks living in Europe, especially the young, are known for being very radical. The Turkish Grey Wolves, which is a banned terrorist organization in some countries, is deemed the largest domestic “right-wing” threat by the German government.
Registered Turkish voters living abroad voted between March 27 and April 9. There was a record turnout of over 1.5 million. Among these voters, YES is said to have gained 60-65%.
The referendum ended up only passing with 51.3%. The NO vote won the Kurdish districts in the southeast and the prosperous western districts. The NO vote also won in Turkey’s three largest cities.
Erdogan just held a victory speech and conceded that the abroad vote played a “big part” of his victory. Erdogan could potentially stay in power until 2029.
Photo at top: Turks marching in Frankfurt, Germany