Turkey Votes for New Constitution


In  nationwide referendum the Turkish population has voted for a change in the country’s constitution. It will give the president more power and reduce the influence of parliament. 51.3% of the voters said “Yes” to a change , while the “No” side received 48.7%.  For months, the population has been divided on the issue. The new constitution is the biggest change in the structure of Turkey since it was founded in the early 20th century.

The referendum was a victory for Turkish President Recip Erdogan, who, together with his ruling AKP Party , called the country’s people to expand presidential powers. Erdogan became Turkey’s president in 2014 after being Prime Minster for over a decade. In the last few years he gained more and more power, especially after the attempted coup last summer. With the new constitution in place Erdogan could stay president until 2029.

Recip Erdogan insists that the new constitution  will make Turkey  more modern and easier to govern.  Opponents of Erdogan claim that the change will make the president too powerful and will turn the country into a dictatorship ruled by one person. They say that, in future, the president cannot be controlled or supervised by parliament or the courts.


In Turkey’s new constitution the president will have wide-ranging powers.  He will not only be able to appoint his own minsters and choose the vice president, but also have the power to dissolve parliament  and declare a state of emergency. He will also be able to appoint judges to the highest court, similar to the American President.

The European Union has been highly critical of the referendum and stated that a change towards more presidential power  will not help Turkey become a member of the EU. It is afraid that, once Erdogan has more power, the country will disregard human rights and introduce the death penalty.



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  • appoint = to choose someone for an official position
  • century = a hundred years
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • constitution = a set of laws which a country is organized by
  • coup = when a group of people suddenly tries to take control of a country
  • court = place where trials are held
  • critical = here: to see something as being dangerous or not very good
  • death penalty = when the state kills a person who has committed a crime
  • decade = ten years
  • declare = to say officially
  • dictatorship = country ruled by a person who has all the power
  • disregard = not respect
  • dissolve = make something go away
  • divided = split
  • especially = above all, more than usual
  • expand = make bigger
  • found- founded = to start something
  • gain = get
  • human rights = the basic rights that every person should have
  • in place = in effect, working
  • influence = power
  • insist = to say that something is true even if other people  do not think so
  • introduce = here: make a law
  • issue = topic
  • judge = a person who is in control of a court and decides how criminals should be punished
  • nationwide = across the whole country
  • opponent = a person who is against you
  • presidential = of the president
  • receive = get
  • reduce = lower
  • referendum = when people vote on a certain topic that is important
  • ruling = here: the party that is in power in parliament
  • similar to = like
  • state of emergency = time during which the government or the president has special powers and limits the freedom of the people
  • supervise = control , oversee
  • victory = to win against others
  • wide-ranging = here: very many, extensive