Armenians Vote ‘No’ in Turkey Referendum

A woman walks past a poster in Turkish urging ‘no’ (hayir)

ISTANBUL, ANKARA (Armenpress)—“The Turkish constitutional changes referendum cannot in any way be called reforms,” said Pakrat Estukyan, Editor-in-Chief of the Armenian department of Istanbul’s Agos weekly.

Estukyan added as result of the referendum the President will have autocratic powers.

“As a result of all this, there will be dictatorship power in Turkey, therefore the constitutional referendum cannot in any way be called reforms,” he said.

Estukyan said the Armenian community of Turkey was against the constitutional changes.

“But, unfortunately, “yes” won, which was expected. After all of this, the political situation in the country will be more difficult,” he said.

Asked what was the reason that voters mostly voted against the changes in major cities, Estukyan said because Turkey isn’t a homogeneous country.

“There are national minorities in Turkey, people of different religion. For instance in Dersim, which is a mainly Alevi populated city, “no” won by 80%. And in general, the Christian population of Turkey mostly voted against the changes. This is how the voting differences in different parts of the country can be explained”, he said.

“The Turkish constitutional referendum results lead the country on a path where the country will be very difficult to control,” said Etienne Mahchupian, chief advisor of Turkey’s former PM Ahmet Davutolgu told Al Jazeera.

“The two parties which presented the constitutional changes proposal have over 63% votes jointly, however they managed to get only 51% with this referendum,” Mahchupian noted. “The AKP-MHP coalition failed to give a desirable result. They lost three major cities. All this leads us to a difficult-to-control Turkey.”

He stressed that on one hand they will have one person having all powers in his hand, therefore bearing the entire responsibility, and a Cabinet formed around him, a system which have significant impact on both the judicial and legislative systems.

“This situation, frankly speaking, doesn’t seem reasonable. Viewing from the political perspective we see that we have suffered a loss of prudence in Turkey. I am concerned that all this will have negative consequences, which Turkey won’t be able to eliminate easily. The restoration of these consequences might require very long time,” he said.

He also touched upon the close results, saying that a bit more than 50% cannot be considered to be sufficient for constitutional changes.

“We are changing the rules of game, while the half of the society doesn’t wanna play under those rules. Forcing something upon this half can have severe public and political consequences,” he said.

Mahchupian said the results are positive for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), mentioning that the party has become a vital partner of the ruling party.

“From now on, the AKP will show it is condemned to the MHP. The MHP emerged as a winner in this. The AKP lost, because what it could have achieved on its own, it achieved with someone else,” he said.

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