|Published : 16 Apr 2017, 17:24:32|
Vote on presidential power underway in Turkey
Millions in Turkey started voting Sunday on a controversial new draft constitution that would give sweeping new powers to the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Voters are being asked to endorse an 18-article reform package put forward by the ruling Justice and Development Party that would replace the current system of parliamentary democracy with a powerful executive presidency, reports CNN.
If passed, the new measures would amount to the biggest constitutional upheaval for the country since its foundation in 1923 after the demise of the Ottoman Empire.
They would cement Erdogan's grip on a country whose divisions have deepened since a failed coup attempt last July that ended with the deaths of more than 250 people and led to a the imposition of a fierce crackdown on dissent.
Casting his vote in Istanbul on Sunday, Erdogan evoked the revered founder of modern Turkey. "This referendum is no ordinary vote ... We are realising the dream of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to make Turkey a more civilized country."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan casts his vote accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan at a polling station in the Uskudar district of Istanbul.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader, of the one of the main opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP), voted in Ankara along with his wife and son.
"We carried out a nice campaign process," said.
"I am so happy. I hope the result will be good and then we will talk about the main problems of Turkey."
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who voted in Izmir, told reporters: "Whatever the result may be, it will be highly respected by us."