The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared in an exclusive new interview on TRT World today.
2 days before a crucial April 16 referendum, Erdogan is campaigning for a resounding “Yes” in the run-up to a vote that will if successful, grant extraordinary new powers to the President and reconfigure the Turkish political system from a Parliamentary to a Presidential model. The Turkish constitution has been in place for 35 years, drafted in the wake of a military coup in the 1980s. The referendum, if accepted, will replace the current constitution.
President Erdogan and the yes camp organized across all of Turkey, noting “weddings centers” as a central location for outreach efforts. Further, Erdogan suggested he loves “the language of the Square” and that their vote yes campaign was “mainly outside in the squares.”
This comes 4 years after the Gezi Park protests of May 2013, when left-of-center protesters were brutally beaten, arrested, and eventually thrown out of Taksim Square, located in the European part of Istanbul. President Erdogan has managed to co-opt the language of resistance in the aftermath of a failed military coup last year.
Erdogan accused a number of his enemies of “harboring terrorists”, including Greece and even his own political opponents at home in the HDP and other Kurdish people.
He also criticized Germany, suggesting Germany, a country of 83 million, feared Turkey because its population is now 80 million and will soon outpace Germany’s. These comments come amid a recent spat with Germany over the Turkish government’s ability to campaign abroad for a yes vote.
Turnout is expected to be extremely high at the referendum’s ballot box. Polls suggest the outcome of the vote will be very close, but that “Yes” will win by a small margin.
Watch the full interview below and share this on social media!