Opinions divided as referendum vote kicking off among overseas Turks

According to Turkish media outlets, Turkish expats residing in Germany, Australia, Belgium, France, Denmark and Switzerland can go to polling stations to vote for the April referendum beginning Monday. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Istanbul, Turkey Mar 27, 2017, 02.05 AM (IST)

Public opinion is widely divided as Turkish referendum vote kicks off among overseas Turks.

Turkey's ruling party will hold a constitutional referendum on April 16 on the presidential system. From Monday on, overseas Turks are beginning to vote, chiming in with the domestic ballot activities in full swing.

On a bustling street in the largest Turkish city of Istanbul, two camps for and against the constitutional reform have engaged in canvassing among the public. The supporting camp used a photo of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and a beacon to call on residents to vote for a brighter future of the country while the opposition asked people to vote for the future of the next generation with a Turkish girl’s image.

According to Turkish media outlets, Turkish expats residing in Germany, Australia, Belgium, France, Denmark and Switzerland can go to polling stations to vote for the April referendum beginning Monday. Within the next fortnight, Turks from 57 countries will place their votes. If a majority vote for the constitutional reform, the country will probably switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one and endow current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with increasing power and authority.

Turkish people have different opinions on this controversial vote.

"Of course I will vote ‘YES.’ One of the biggest reasons that I vote 'Yes' is because there is a government that proved to be good for 15 years now. For being a strong country against other countries, and to have a better future, we say 'YES' to this government and with Recep Tayyip Erdogan leading," said Tackin, a local.

One girl opposing the reform claimed that she could hardly imagine what a country will look like when Erdogan has the final say on everything.

Regarding some EU member states’ opposition against Turkish referendum rallies, Turkish experts condemn these moves as taking sides and damaging the democratic process in Turkey.

"That's creating high tensions between Turkey and some European countries, of course, this is not acceptable, everything is against democracy, against the so-called European values, and what are we seeing is that some European countries are disregarding these democratic values," said Enes Bayrakli, director of European Studies Center at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

(Reuters)