'Turkey Referendum Set to Quench Erdogan's Thirst for Power'

Turkish people are voting in a referendum which could greatly impact their future. A victory for the ‘Yes’ campaign would mean that the office of the prime minister shall be abolished in favor of more executive powers for the currently largely ceremonial position of the president.

Press TV has spoken to Ian Williams, a senior analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, and Hatem Yavuz, a political observer, to discuss Turkey’s constitutional referendum.

Ian Williams believes that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arranged the referendum only to satisfy his thirst for power and consolidate his position as president.

 "It is going to give him [Erdogan] absolute power. He is showing increasing signs of power hunger and one might almost say megalomania over the last few years. This [referendum] would consolidate the presidency as a token figure even if he controls the actual party that dominates the parliament. So, what he wants now is to consolidate it,” he noted.

According to Williams, subjecting a country’s constitution to such a fundamental change requires consensus among all segments of the society, and a Yes/No referendum does not seem to be the appropriate apparatus for bringing about that change.

“I am not convinced about referendum as a means of affecting change. Because the only answer is yes or no. And the real question here is not why they're going to change the constitution. It is going to abrogate any constitutional responsibility for the president,” the analyst said.

“In a real mature society, something as complex as the constitution, the way a society governs itself, could really be determined on a simple majority. It's something that needs consensus and development across the whole society and that clearly hasn't happened here. This has been railroaded. Erdogan has complained that his rallies aren't allowed in Western Europe but he pretty much refused to allow the opposition to have any serious campaigning presence in Turkey itself,” Williams explained.

However, Hatem Yavuz, the other panelist on the show, disagreed with Williams on Erdogan’s totalitarian instincts, and argued that the referendum is only planned to improve Turkey’s inefficient bureaucracy and make the government more stable.

Press TV