Opponents to a Turkish executive presidency set to work ahead of probable April vote
The British offshoot of Turkey’s main opposition party has launched a UK-wide campaign to secure a No vote in the upcoming executive presidency referendum.
Turkish expatriates in the UK will be able to cast ballots in the referendum, which would grant Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sweeping new powers, a week before voters in Turkey go to the polls.
Hasan Dikme, who leads CHP UK, the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) British branch, said at a breakfast meeting with expatriates in North London that his party would be campaigning strongly for a No vote.
“By tomorrow, it will be too late,” Dikme said at the event on 22 January.
“The Turkish nation decided the type of regime it wanted on 29 October 1923 when it opted for the Republic as the system that best suits its needs and nature.
“The proposed constitutional reforms, which imposes an executive presidency system, is absolutely not something Turkey requires.”
He went on: “The Republic of Turkey is being dragged towards dictatorship. Secularism is under threat. Military coups will become more likely. Corruption, sectarianism and favouritism will reach a peak. Anti-democratic actions will not be preventable.”
The event at Şelale Restaurant in Harringay Green Lanes was well attended by CHP UK members, NGO leaders and Turkish expatriates.
Proposals for an executive presidency were approved by Turkey’s parliament in mid-January, but a referendum date has not yet been announced. Sunday 9 April has been widely rumoured, which would mean Turkish passport holders resident in the UK would cast their votes the previous weekend, 1-2 April.