Evet It Is

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The big news in Istanbul this week is that Turkish voters approved in a referendum a set of 26 constitutional reforms put forth by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that fulfills some of the European Union’s human rights criteria, while also protecting the party from being closed by the judiciary (as nearly happened in 2008) and providing the executive branch with more power over judicial appointments. The referendum passed with 58% voting in favor.
The result is a big political win for Prime Minister Erdogan’s government and constitutes a vote of confidence for the government ahead of next summer’s parliamentary elections.
More broadly, the referendum is just another skirmish in the ongoing culture war between the conservative, religious elements of society represented by the AKP and the secular, Kemalist portion of society that is located primarily in Western Turkey and is led by the military, judiciary and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
A few quick thoughts:
-The referendum has been huge news here in Istanbul. Many of Istanbul’s biggest streets have been covered in posters that say “Evet” (yes) or “Hayir” (no). Both sides had also set up booths and organized rallies throughout the city, though the pro-government “Evet” crowd clearly had a bigger presence – at least in the densely populated Taksim region where I am staying.
-In a stunning gaffe, opposition leader Kemal Kili

Comments

8 comments on “Evet It Is

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Other Side of the New American Foundation: The Afghan ‘War of Necessity’
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    Anxious, it seems, to dispel the idea that the New America Foundation supports peace in Afghanistan, today the NAF scrounged up a former adviser to none other than Dick Cheney to spew nonsense about the failing occupation of Afghanistan as a

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  2. ridvan says:

    nadine wishes to see Turkey which is governing by military over CHP. Wake up nadine!! world is changing, Turkey is changing. while Turkey is getting more stronger, peaceful and democratic in this process,this new era make some people nervous and disappointed.
    Erdogan is the PM for almost 8 years and you still need waiting to see something. let me tell you what happened in this time; Turkey became 16th biggest economy of the world and 6th of europe, member of the temporal security council of UN, negotiating member of EU, one of the most important, effective member of NATO and partner of US in Middle East, in Balkans, in Afghanistan.
    you keep waiting and dreaming nadine…Sultan Erdogan will make you more jealous and dissapointed in the future:))

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  3. JohnH says:

    “So the AKP will pack the courts from now on”…just like Republicans have.
    Poor Nadine, she just can’t seem to get used to the workings of democracy. Much better to have some strongman appointing judges who will obediently adjudicate according to his whims.

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  4. nadine says:

    So the AKP will pack the courts from now on, which will find for the AKP and against the CHP and military. All in the name of ‘democratization’.
    Never forget, democracy is a streetcar. Prime Minister Erdogan said so — or should I say, Sultan Erdogan?
    Wait and see.

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  5. JohnH says:

    The irony about the “controversial” elections was that media spent days prior to it wringing their hands, seeming secretly to hope that there really was some possibility that Erdogan’s constitutional reforms might lose, allowing the old, reliable military to maintain its grip on the country.
    But when the election was over, “news” organizations like BBC dropped it like a hot turd. The horse race was over, nothing to report. Instead, the “news” was looking forward to the upcoming “elections” in Afghanistan and how they would surely benefit women. (any propaganda there?)
    Meanwhile, on El-Jazeeera the Turkish result was treated like election night, with wall to wall coverage analyzing what it might mean for Turkey and how it might embolden Erdogan to seek more change.

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  6. Matthew says:

    We really should have a moratorium on the use of the word “controversial.” It’s idiotic. Even a landslide election in America, the winner usually gets about 55-60% of the vote–meaning that 40-45% of the voters cast ballots for the loser. Every decision therefore is “controversal.”
    Moreover, the Turks voted to limit the power of unelected judges to ban political parties! Unlike our federal judges who are appointed by a democratically elected president, and confirmed by a democratically elected Senate, Turkey had judges that were selected without input from Parliament. What we euphemistically call “secularism” was a system where an elite perpetuate themselves regardless of elections. in fact, these as*hats tried banning the the political party of the popular PM. Amazing.
    Let’s hope those same Turks who find these results “controversial” continue to be marginalized, until they realize that self-perpetuating judges and coup-plotting generals are the enemies of democracy. The quicker they are thrown into the historical trashcan, the better.
    P.S. Let the trials of military coup plotters from 1980 commence! Go Turkey.

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  7. JohnH says:

    The Western press was its usual, obstreperous self during the campaign. Rather than offer substative information, the narrative concentrated on the “controversial” nature of the reforms and persistently asked the question “what will Erdogan do if he loses?”
    When one Turkish analyst was asked that question, he initially responded with a look of dismay, then said, “all the opinion polls have the referendum winning.” I mean, what was THAT question all about?
    Obviously, the Western media exist in a totally different universe.

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