|The struggle for modern Turkey continues [Reuters]|
Turkey’s constitutional referendum in September, seen as a tussle between an Islamist-influenced government and its secular opponents, was heralded “a historic threshold on the way to advanced democracy and the supremacy of law”.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had urged, successfully, a “yes” vote on the package of reforms that set to promote individual and human rights, increase access to the courts, and decentralise judicial authority.
On the losing end of this battle was the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who staked their “no” campaign on the legacy of Turkey’s secularising and modernising founder, Kemal Ataturk.
The European Union (EU), which one day may welcome Turkey into its ranks, approved of the reforms and joined Barack Obama, the US president, in welcoming the result.
The constitutional amendment marked a liberal transformation of the Turkish state and possibly the most reformist act Erdogan had ever taken.
Erdogan said that the changes were needed to strengthen democracy and bring Turkey closer to European norms, as the country continues its bid to join the European Union.
Erdogan, who enjoys strong popular support in Turkey, now will aim to see through the amendment process and cement, both his victory and his political career.
The biggest implications of the referendum, was they symbolic loss that the Turkish military establishment sufferd in the wake of Erdogans victory.
The Turkish military has been hugely popular during the Turkey’s contemporary history, even though it has consistently intervened in civilan politcal rule.
The result of the referendum showed this trend is now changing, Turks are becoming increasingly reluctant to tolerate military disruptions in their democratic processes.