Chief advisor to Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and columnist İlnur Çevik has warned that there will be more chaos and instability in Turkey than during the period following the June 7, 2015 general elections if a constitutional reform package, which will be put to a public vote on April 16, is rejected.
Posting on his Twitter account in both Turkish and English, Çevik wrote: “If referendum rejects change the instability and chaos created will be nothing compared to the mess after June 7 polls.”
Çevik has received much criticism for his message.
Turkey has plunged into an environment of terror and instability following the June 7 general elections when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to win enough seats in Parliament to form a single party government.
Acts of terrorism rapidly increased and a settlement process between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) came to an end following the June 7 elections. Hundreds of civilians, soldiers and police officers have been killed in terror attacks perpetrated by the PKK and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since June 7, 2015.
RULING AKP MEMBER RESIGNS AFTER REVELATION OF VIDEO THREATENING ‘NO’ VOTERS WITH GUN
Meanwhile, ruling AKP’s Sinop provincial executive committee member Musa Yıldırım resigned after a video showing him firing a gun in an empty field in order to threaten people who are planning to vote “no” in a referendum in April went viral on social media.
The video, which was first shared by local halksesi.com editor Mete Çağdaş, shows that Yıldırım fires his gun several times and smiles after the person who recorded the video asks him, “Brother Musa, what will we do with people who say ‘no’ to a strong Turkey?”
In a statement on Monday Yıldırım apologized and resigned from the party.
“The video was recorded on Jan. 26, 2017, two weeks before the President Erdoğan approved the decision on the referendum. I didn’t hear what my friend who recorded the video said, and I fired my gun into the water in order to try it out [the gun]. We kept the video as a memory. I didn’t hear what he said and didn’t mean to threaten anyone. My friend wanted to send the video back to me. However, it was leaked by a party man who became envious of me after my friend sent it to the AKP Sinop [provincial branch] WhatsApp group,” he said.
He resigned, saying: “I withdraw from active politics and resign [from my party]. I apologize for the misunderstanding I caused. I apologize to the Turkish public.”
Last week, a passenger on a public bus in İstanbul who claimed to be a staunch supporter of President Erdoğan threatened a group of “no” leaning voters in an upcoming referendum in Turkey, saying they will be put to the sword since the Ottoman Empire will be revived.
In a previous statement, Erdoğan as well as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım accused the potential naysayers in the referendum of taking sides with terrorist organizations.
On Feb 12, Turkish Bureau Union (Türk Büro Sen) Chairman Fahrettin Yokuş, who called on people to vote “no” in the referendum, was the target of gunshots in Ankara.
On Feb. 16, two members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) were verbally and physically assaulted while campaigning from door to door in İzmir. A man known only by the initials A.B., who said he was from a local branch of the AKP, accused the CHP members of trying to “undermine the state” while his son O.B. hit the two women in the back.
In January, Turkey’s Parliament passed the constitutional amendments later approved by President Erdoğan that would transform the political system into an executive-style presidential system, effectively widening the scope of powers of the position.
The ruling AKP, backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pushed through the legislation that President Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.
Parliament’s approval paved the way for a nationwide referendum on the amendments, which would give the president, a traditionally more ceremonial role, the power to dismiss ministers and Parliament, issue decrees, declare emergency rule and appoint figures to key positions, including the judiciary.
It would also allow the president to be a member of a political party, which is currently prohibited under the constitution as the presidency is expected to exercise impartiality.
The referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held on April 16. (SCF with turkishminute.com) March 7, 2017