Turkish gov’t rules out cancelation of upcoming referendum

Turkish gov’t rules out cancelation of upcoming referendum

Turkish gov’t rules out cancelation of upcoming referendum

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The referendum slated for April 16 will not be canceled, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said, responding to rumors on the cancellation of the referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system of government.

“No power can be successful in canceling the referendum,” Kurtulmuş told state-run Anadolu Agency on March 22.

Stating that the polls indicate a positive move toward a “yes” vote, he said people who were distant to the constitutional amendment have started to change their minds thanks to the campaign of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“In the first weeks, there was a cool stance because voters did not know what the constitution will bring. Thankfully, in the field we see that the ‘yes’ side is being fortified every day. As the uncertain masses understand the system and learn the details, they have started to say ‘yes’ very seriously. There is no problem, there is a recovery in the rising of ‘yes’ votes,” Kurtulmuş said.

Responding to criticism that the changes will grant overweening power to the president, he stressed the importance of “responsibilities” over “power.”

“Yes, the president will have authorities, but he will also have many responsibilities. The president will never have authority above the parliament in terms of making laws,” Kurtulmuş said.

He also denied main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that Syrian refugees will be naturalized after the referendum if the “yes” side wins.

“Saying ‘3 million people will be given citizenship is totally being instrumentalized as an election tool. [Syrians] are our friends, brothers, and sisters. We are in working to make sure they can live in their own country in health, prosperity, and peace,” Kurtulmuş added.