Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said “Europe’s future depends on the Turks who live there,” during a political rally in the Black Sea province of Giresun on Thursday ahead of a referendum over constitutional change on Sunday. “Five million of our brothers who have settled there from Turkey will shape the future of Europe,” said Erdoğan ahead of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional changes.
Claiming that in recent months the paint has been wiped off Europe’s face Erdoğan woved “now they are beginning to show that they are anti-Islam. They have no tolerance for Muslims.” Erdoğan has also said after being closed to Turkish government ministers, some European countries have opened their doors to members of the terror groups that Turkey is fighting.
The president spoke at length over the rift between Turkey and some European governments after German and Dutch authorities barred rallies by Turkish ministers who favor a presidential system.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan’s henchman Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir bozdağ has criticized British newsweekly The Economist on Thursday for its cover saying that Turkey is “sliding into dictatorship” over a picture of Erdoğan. Claiming that British voters will not decide the fate of Sunday’s referendum in Turkey, Bozdağ stated that “I cannot understand why the media in Britain, and some countries in Europe like Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany, are so disturbed by our referendum and system change in Turkey. Why are they concerned? Why are they disturbed?”
Applying a frequently used rhetoric Minister Bozdağ said that “Turkish people will give the necessary answer to The Economist at the ballot box in Sunday’s referendum.”
Claiming that some circles in the West see President Erdoğan as an enemy, Bozdağ has continued his criticism as follow: “Those who slander Erdoğan as a dictator overlook the struggle for democracy and human rights he is waging in Turkey and the entire world.”
Turkey will vote on a constitutional change in the referendum which will introduce an executive presidency if approved. The change will greatly increase Erdoğan’s powers while weakening Parliament. 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 CHP and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.
Erdoğanist politicians have attempted to travel across Europe to campaign for April 16 referendum in Turkey that will greatly expand President Erdoğan’s powers. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium had canceled the rallies, leading to crises between Turkey and European countries. Millions of Turkish citizens voted for referendum across Europe.
The constitutional change will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029. The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.
April 13, 2017