This is kinda huge news causing ripples across all of Europe, but at least here in America I have heard zero about it. If Turkey wasn't a country I was interested about, I would have no clue (same with Korea's recent impeachment of their president and potential shift to a more left-wing government). I guess we really are shifting to a more isolationist mindset again...http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-politics-constitution-idUSKBN15507Q?il=0
The Turkish parliament has backed a plan to strengthen the powers of the presidency, paving the way for a referendum on the issue in spring which, if passed, could allow President Tayyip Erdogan to stay in office until 2029.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/14/erdogan-turkey-referendum-diplomatic-row
Erdogan says the reform will provide stability in the European Union candidate country at a time of turmoil and prevent a return to the fragile coalitions of the past. His opponents fear it will herald increasingly authoritarian rule.
The constitutional reform bill was approved overnight with 339 votes in the 550-member assembly, parliament said on its official Twitter account on Saturday. The legislation needed at least 330 deputies to support it in order to go to a public vote.
The reform would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament - powers that the two main opposition parties say strip away balances to Erdogan's power.
Erdogan assumed the presidency, a largely ceremonial position, in 2014 after over a decade as prime minister with the ruling AK Party, which he co-founded. Since then, pushing his powers to the limit, he has continued to dominate politics by dint of his personal popularity.With the reforms, the president will be allowed to retain ties to a political party, potentially allowing Erdogan to resume his leadership of the AK Party, in a move that opposition parties say will abolish any chance of impartiality. The plans envisage presidential and general elections to be held together in 2019 with a president eligible to serve a maximum two five-year terms.
Critics accuse Erdogan of increasing authoritarianism with the arrests and dismissal of tens of thousands of judges, police, military officers, journalists and academics since a failed military coup in July.
Erdogan and the government say the extent of the crackdown is justified by the nature of the threat to the state from July 15, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets in a violent bid to seize power.
Erdogan on Saturday also revived the question of reintroducing the death penalty, which some of his supporters had called for in the wake of July's coup attempt.
It is a mark of Turkey’s abandonment of its once pre-eminent diplomatic priority – membership of the European Union – that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been so ready to wade into a vitriolic diplomatic row with Europe.
The Turkish president has sparked fury from Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, two of the EU’s most liberal leaders, with his evocation of nazism and Islamophobia. For good measure he has also reminded Turks of the Dutch role in the Srebrenica massacre.
he external damage may be long-term, but Erdoğan seems to be willing to shrug it off. His priorities right now are entirely domestic and short-term.
Involved in a self-imposed battle for political survival, Erdoğan has staked all on winning a referendum set for 16 April in which he seeks to transform Turkey from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency. A yes vote would give him autocratic powers that were only this week condemned as excessive by a Council of Europe inquiry.
In such circumstances it might be expected that Erdoğan’s path to an imperial presidency would hardly be burdensome. But polls reveal that is not the case.
Though fluctuating, they have broadly shown that Turkish voters are divided, with about 40% in favour of the changes, 40% against and the remaining 20% undecided. Defeat would be unthinkable – a humiliation for a man who feels he has never been adequately thanked by Europe for all Turkey’s efforts in giving safe harbour to millions of Syrian refugees.
Turkey sees the ban on its politicians holding rallies – something that started in Germany at a local level, but was supported by Austria, and then the Netherlands – as a sign that Islamophobes have won the argument in Europe.
Yet as soon as the first German ban was imposed, the AKP immediately took the denunciatory rhetoric and threat of reprisals to the most emotive level. It portrayed Turkey and the yes campaign as the victims of a conspiracy. Justice minister Bekir Bozdağ railed against the Germans’ “past illness” in the same breath as condemning a supposedly “fascist practice”. Turkey’s EU minister, Ömer Çelik, accused the Austrians of “using the language of European racists”.
And, by the weekend, amid his dramatic row with the Dutch, Erdoğan himself had reached his peak: “I thought nazism was over,” he thundered, “but I was wrong. In fact, nazism is alive in the west.”
Needless to say, it was not aimed at European officials in Brussels, Berlin or the Hague – but at the Turkish diaspora and domestic audience. The Turkish press accused the Dutch police of behaving like thugs. Geert Wilders, the far-right Freedom party leader in full campaign mode ahead of Wednesday’s Dutch elections, seized the moment, claiming that dual Dutch-Turkish citizens “don’t belong here”. Populists in Europe started feeding off the Turkish rhetoric, and vice-versa.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again... bigotry, like everything else, has consequences. The xenophobic rhetoric of buffoons is now being used to create actual problems, and I will wager my left testicle not a one of them will take responsibility for it. It's the same shit all over the place; "All men are sexists!", "All SJW hate white people!", "All cops hate blacks!", etc. etc. ... this rhetoric is doing fuck all, but it's all you see. And then lo' and behold, when people are deemed to be irredeemable and abhorrent... they give up trying to have a productive dialog and tell you right back to go fuck yourself. Who would have thought that would happen?