|Moon of Alabama | Apr 17, 2017|
Erdogan is the Turkish president since 2014. He has since continuously broken the constitution by wheeling partisan powers way beyond the neutral, only formally executive role the office of the president is supposed to have.
Yesterday's "yes"/"no" vote was allegedly won by the "yes" side with 51.4% of the votes. This even though the "no" vote won in all major cities. In Turkey the vote in the major cities usually reflects the total. The campaign for the vote was very unfair with all state media and offices pushing for a "yes". Opposition politicians were put to jail or threatened with retribution. Media opposing Erdogan were suppressed or completely closed down.
There is significant reasons to believe that the vote count was fraudulently manipulated. On the day of the vote the election commission, stuffed with Erdogan cronies, suddenly allowed ballots without the official stamp to be counted. According to Turkish election laws each ballot, and each envelope of a postal vote, needs to be officially stamped before voting starts. This is supposed to prevent ballot stuffing with ballots printed outside of the official channels. The election commission has given no reason yet why it thought that such a last minute rule change, in opposition to the law, was necessary or even legal. Use of unstamped ballots was reported out of many election localities in rural areas where the "yes" votes now were the majority. Additionally video was recorded of local election workers stamping ballots after they had been used for voting.
The opposition is protesting and will go to court. But it will likely have little success. Erdogan has removed all judges and other legal personal that could go against him. An amateurish coup attempt against him, which he knew about before it happened, was used by him to clean all public offices of people not aligned with his party and program.
The new powers of the presidency will only come into force after the next election for the presidency. But everyone expects that Erdogan will use them right away. With the issue of the referendum put aside Erdogan is now free to escalate interior and exterior conflicts. We can expect new Turkish operations in Syria as well as in Iraq to be launched soon.
In the 1990s I extensively traveled in Turkey - alone, by local buses and mostly in the east. The country was waking up and in an intellectual and commercial growing phase. During the last years a new wave of conservatism has stopped that move. My friends there report of stagnation.
Turkey does not have the economic and intellectual power to become a new Ottoman Reich. It will fail in new expansive endeavors. But the attempt alone will be destructive for Turkey as well as for the countries around it.
Turkey is no longer a democracy. It is now a one man dictatorship with an expansive and distinct Islamist agenda. To change that will require the removal of Erdogan through some act of force.