Turkish president approves constitutional overhaul

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Feb. 10 approved an 18-article bill that proposes significant changes to Turkey's constitution. A public referendum vote will be held on April 16 to determine if the changes will be incorporated. Erdogan has stated that the changes are necessary to provide stability in Turkey. Opponents of the bill have stated that the changes would remove some checks and balance on the presidency that could lead to Turkey being under a "one-man rule." The bill would "enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve parliament." If approved by the referendum vote, presidential elections would be held November 2019. The changes allow a president to serve up to two five-year terms. Erdoğan's current time as president would not count towards to term limits set by the bill.

From Jurist, Feb. 10. Used with permission.

Note: The planned constitutional reform comes amid a draconian crackdown on opposition in Turkey. On the day Erdogan signed the bill, police fired tear-gas and detained several protesters to break up a thousands-strong demonstration against the dismissal of dozens of professors at Ankara University—part of Erdogan's ongoing purge of perceived disloyal elements. (Reuters)