13 April 2017

Turkey referendum - Sunday 16th April 2017

Istanbul (CNN)Turkish voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in a referendum that could radically alter the way the country is governed.

If Turkey backs the referendum, the country's parliamentary system will turn into a presidential one, effectively consolidating the power of its legislative bodies into one executive branch with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its primary executor.

Significantly, it would also allow Erdogan -- who served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 before becoming President -- to stay in office until 2029. Those opposing the vote say the proposed constitutional changes give carte blanche to a President already pushing the boundaries of his power.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has displayed an increasingly authoritarian streak since a failed coup attempt in 2016, which led to an intense crackdown that has prompted the arrests of 47,155 government critics, academics, journalists, military officials and civil servants.

"I'm worried because they are already ruling like a dictatorship," said 39-year-old Ebril Ozdemir about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "If the yes vote wins, what they are doing will be legal. Then we are going to see real fascism." (an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization)