End of August…upcoming referendum…post-crisis recovery and growth…
ISTANBUL- With two days left in August, I’ve been looking ahead to Sept. and the upcoming referendum on controversial constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling AKP. Scheduled for 12 Sept. the referendum is actually more a vote for or against AKP than on the amendments themselves. Most Turks believe that Turkey’s current constitution must be reformed, but there is not the same level of consensus on who should do that reforming. Opponents of AKP say that the constitutional amendments give the party too much power over the country’s judiciary, traditionally a secular, opposing force to religious AKP.
Even if Istanbul’s central Beyolugu district has an increasing number of “no” banners, the referendum is expected to end with a majority “yes” vote in favor of AKP. Not only is AKP better mobilized and with a clearer message than opposition parties, even if they have been reinvigorated in recent months with new leadership and a drop in AKP’s popularity in comparison to past years, it is not only those attracted by AKP’s populist message and sharp rhetoric that are hoping for a “yes” vote.
The referendum is seen as a litmus test for how AKP will fair in parliamentary elections next year. International investors, hoping market stability with greet their renewed interest in Turkey, also hope for the continuation of power for the pro-business AKP. Read my recent article Taking Stock in Turkey for a description of international investors zoning in on Turkey, one of the world’s most impressive stories of post-crisis recovery and growth.