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Turkish PM signals referendum may take place under state of emergency

Contrary to earlier remarks, now Turkey’s top officials reportedly are getting ready to go to referendum for constitutional changes before lifting state of emergency rules.

According to Daily Milliyet’s columnist Serpil Cevikcan’s column on January 12th, Turkish PM Binali Yildirim conversation reported:

“I asked this to the Prime Minister. And he replied as following:

“We have told since the beginning, and still saying, that this state of emergency (SOE.) was declared against the state itself, not the public. Therefore a referendum can well be held under this state of emergency conditions. France is also going to elections under SOE. Don’t worry.”

The Prime Minister continued his words: “The referendum date is not determined yet. Let’s all wait and see. But this way or another, the referendum will be held.”

In the same column, Ms. Cevikcan writes another conversation with one of leading Turkish Minister, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, as follows:

“Bozdağ: People will see that there will be no blocking.

I also spoke to The Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, and he showed the same approach to referendum under SOE conditions. Bozdağ said:

“If there are any ordinary citizens effected by the SOE on the streets, he should tell us. There are no unhealthy conditions under this SOE to avoid going to the polls and casting votes. Security of the polls are under YSK (Supreme Board of Elections) and hence, there will be no problems in this regard. During SOE, all practices are subject to city governors’ permissions. Any political party who wants to run a rally and make propaganda for referendum, can – if they would want to. There will be no problems about all this. If a party says “we were going to run a rally or hold a meeting criticizing the constitution proposal but the civil administration or governorate didn’t give permission” then they would be rightful. But this won’t be the case. Any party, who wants, can run a rally, get on television, give advertisements; if they are using SOE as an excuse, they should not.”


Translation: Güliz Türker

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