Erdogan's Coronation - the Rise of Greater Authoritarianism in Turkey
By the end of this day, Turkey could become a nation with a president having sweeping regal powers and a nation without a leading parliamentary system of power that also gets rid of the prime minister's position and gives greater power to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to appoint top government officials as well as ministers of government.
Turks are today voting on a referendum to replace the nation's parliamentary system with an executive presidency, according to the BBC-News, which Erdogan and his supporters have argued would modernize the country, but opponents contend and fear the change would lead to greater authoritarianism. Turkey still remains under emergency decree ever since a failed coup last July.
Since the failed coup, tens of thousands of Turks have either been detained, jailed, fired or suspended from governmental positions, including the judiciary, police and teachers. More than 150 media outlets have been shuttered and journalists have been jailed as Erdogan has solidified his grasp over NATO-member, Turkey.
If Turks approve the referendum, Erdogan could remain in power until 2029. His regal powers would allow him to appoint cabinet ministers, issue decrees, pick senior judges and to dissolve parliament. Erdogan claims the changes are needed to address Turkey's security challenges and to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.
Opponents to the supreme power change fear the president's position would become too powerful amounting to one-man rule without any checks and balances.
But central power in Turkey remains in the hands of Erdogan during today's vote and more than likely, Erdogan will have his way at the ballot boxes.