Yes votes on April 16 will echo across Europe: PM Yıldırım
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 16, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 16, 2017 12:00 am
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Wednesday that the "yes" votes in the upcoming April 16 referendum, which will decide the fate of the country's Constitution, will resound across Europe. Speaking at a rally in the predominantly Kurdish northeastern Ardahan province, Prime Minister Yıldırım asserted that Turks' votes in Europe will echo across the continent on April 16 amid disputes with several EU member states over bans on Turkish ministers' rallies. "They [EU member states' leaders] target Turkey to garner more votes in elections," Yıldırım said, adding that Turkey determines Europe's politics.
"Turkey will make Europe resound with 'yes,'" he added.
Stressing that everybody will keep silent and the people will have their say on April 16, the prime minister said the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is the only remedy to the problems of the people.
The prime minister contended that those who campaign for "no" votes have so far steered the country into crises when they had the power. "Now they have taken to roads to prevent the people's blessed march by saying 'no,'" he said.
Yıldırım contended that Turks have realized there is a dirty game being played against Turkey. "These people see and know this dirty game being played. The response to that will be on April 16," he added.
The prime minister picked on the opposition as well. Claiming that hostile European countries side with the opposition in Turkey, Yıldırım condemned the EU member states' leaders.
On Saturday, Dutch authorities first refused to allow Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's flight to land. Separately, Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was prevented from entering the Turkish consulate in the port city by police and escorted to the German border to be deported. The incidents have strained relations between Ankara and Brussels.
Meanwhile, Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu held his first rally yesterday in the party's "no" campaign. Speaking in the northern province of Amasya, Kılıçdaroğlu called on everyone to think about the burden they carry while voting. The Republican chairman said the referendum is not about parties but about Turkey.
Even though the CHP chairman had defended Ankara's position in the dispute with the Netherlands, he said later on that the government is intentionally trying to create a tense environment with Europe. "Europe openly supports the 'yes' campaign. How do you refuse the [entry] of the plane of a country's prime minister. They openly want to create a contradiction." he contended.
"This incident profits those going to the polls there and the AKP [the AK Party] going to the referendum," Kılıçdaroğlu added.
An 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor - nine more than needed to put the proposals to a referendum. The referendum will be held on April 16.
The proposals would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president, such as the power to appoint ministers, and greater control over the judiciary. It also abolishes the post of prime minister, and the president can retain ties to a political party.
The reforms would remove parliament's power to question ministers or stage a no-confidence vote in the government. The minimum age for parliamentary candidates would be reduced to 18 and the number of deputies would rise to 600.
The constitutional changes have been discussed since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won his current position in August 2014 - Turkey's first popularly elected president.