Turkish party leaders cast votes in referendum
İZMİRThe leaders of Turkey’s political parties cast their votes on April 16 for the referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted into an executive presidency.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım voted in the western province of İzmir.
“The results will emerge after the ballot boxes open at night. No matter what the result is, we will welcome it. The decision that our people give is the best one,” Yıldırım told journalists after casting his vote in the Menderes district, adding that he “carried out his duty as a citizen by voting.”
“We are in the Menderes district of the beautiful İzmir. We cast our votes and carried out our civic duty. In every corner of Turkey and in 81 provinces, our citizens are casting their votes and making their choices in peace and fraternity,” he said.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu cast his vote at a school in the capital Ankara.
“We are voting on Turkey’s destiny. All citizens will vote with the sense of responsibility,” Kılıçdaroğlu told journalists, as he added that they carried out a “beautiful campaign.”
“We embraced all citizens and didn’t marginalize anybody. I hope that a beneficial result will emerge and we’ll have the opportunity to discuss Turkey’s basic problems all together,” he said.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli cast his vote in Ankara.
“I’m happy that I carried out my civic duty. Turkish politics will head toward a new structuring regarding the future,” he told journalists.
The “yes” vote is endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the MHP, while a group of dissident politicians within the MHP, the CHP and the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were campaigning for a “no” vote.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek cast his vote in the Şehikamil district of the southeastern province of Gaziantep. After voting, Şimşek visited the polling clerks and chatted with citizens for a while.
“The word and the decision belong to the people. The campaign is over, we worked until today and the people will say the final word. Whatever the people decide is the best for our country,” Şimşek told journalists, as he added that the referendum was the most significant one in the history of the Republic.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, meanwhile, voted in the Alanya district of the southern province of Antalya.
“The people will make their decision regarding Turkey’s future. I believe today is a significant turning point for the future of Turkey. We’ve been following that the people are making the best use of their democratic right all over Turkey. This is democracy,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu cast his vote in the Black Sea province of Trabzon and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş voted in Istanbul.
“The fact that the referendum took place is a very significant development for Turkish democracy,” Kurtulmuş told journalists.
Meanwhile, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s wife Başak Demirtaş voted in the Kayapınar district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
Demirtaş was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, and is currently behind bars in a jail in the western province of Edirne.