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Today Turkey Votes Yes or No

Following the 15th July 2016 coup d’état attempt in Turkey against the legitimately elected government through a majority of the Turkish voters, Turkey and its leadership has been quite vocal against the partiality of some European governments in condemning the illegal coup.

Fast forwarding through many events over the past seven months or so, a referendum is today taking place in Turkey, to transform its somewhat military-dictated constitution, [1] and may, for the first time, allow an Islamic leader to rival the ultra-secularist Mustafa Kemal Ataturk himself. [2] These changes have been approved in the Turkish Parliament,[3] supported by the Government and a significant number of members of the opposition. [4] Today’s referendum will invite the Turkish population to offer their final verdict on this monumental, political shift. [5] Turkish citizens at home and abroad will be allowed to participate. [6]


Turkish deputies and ministers have been travelling across Tukey and abroad to convince voters to help pass this constitutional change.

Many in the west believe a ‘Yes’ vote will make Turkey more powerful in the global arena. Surely enough, a ‘Yes’ vote empowers the youth by reducing the minimum age to stand in elections, reduces military involvement in the political processes, encourages diversity by lifting the condition of the president to be born in Turkey, [7] among many other such changes. A ‘Yes’ vote receives the passionate support of the man and a party that has never lost an election since 2001 for its incessant success by the permission of Allah ﷻ.

This says a lot for the Turks. For about the same time, and into this referendum campaign, western media have nit-picked about very few of the changes out of context to no end, dubbing it with yet another loosely defined term ‘authoritarian’, with no care in the world that it follows the apex of a nation’s ‘democratic’ process. The ‘No’ campaigners and those criticising the reform seem to comfortably ignore – for obvious reasons – the fact that the proposal for the new constitution makes the president accountable to the legislative body – the parliament – and the judiciary. [8] [9]

The Friction

Some European countries have put up a rather undiplomatic stance towards the ‘Yes’ campaign, making it near impossible for the Government of Turkey to reach out to their citizens living in parts of Europe or even, ludicrously, for diplomats to reach their own embassies! And although a possible violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, notably article 22 and 26, [10] Turkey-bashing by European Governments pandering to the right-wing voter has become quite an infectious disease.

The Hypocrisy

Ludicrously, the opposition campaigners against the constitutional change (‘No’ vote) were allowed to campaign without hindrances or cancellations, whilst elected and incumbent government officials including senior Ministers did the impossible to get their voices heard by those who elected them in the first place. Even the option to make an informed choice was barred from the Turks living abroad. This manifested itself in some eight campaign rally cancellations in Germany, two in the Netherlands and three in Austria. [11]

Clash of words

“They do not let our friends speak in Germany. Let them do it. Do you think that barring a Turkish minister from pronouncing a speech [in Germany] will make the votes ‘No‘ instead of ‘Yes‘?” said Erdogan whilst likening Germany’s actions to the Nazis.[12] Merkel for her part criticised those comments as being “totally unacceptable”. [13]

Erdogan also said that these negative escalations in parts of Europe show that “The West has thrown off its mask in the past days” and that it is showing some “signs of increasing fascism, racism, and Islamophobia”, [14] a phenomenon not exactly invisible.

An earlier incident between the Turkish President and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel saw President Erdogan criticising the latter for referring to certain acts of terrorism as ‘Islamist Terrorism’, rebuking the term by expressing the views of the Muslims and giving her a brief lesson on the word Islam. [15] Does Erdogan’s ability to better represent European Muslim minorities than their own governments play a role in forging this diplomatic enmity towards him? Or is it Muslims’ feeling of empowerment and dignity that sour relationships with those now neighbours of a thriving majority-Muslim state?

Regarding the actions of the Dutch, barring the Turkish Foreign Minister from landing, Ayman Nour, leader of Egypt’s Ghad al-Thawra Party said that they “reveal the intellectual and political extremism that is currently sweeping the West and a hatred of Muslims and Arabs”. The International Union of Muslim Scholars also condemned the “unacceptable” treatment of Turkish government ministers, calling on the entire Muslim world to show solidarity with the Turkish government. And many more messages of support poured in from Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Morocco, among others nations and groups. [16]

But why?

So why is a constitutional change that would match Turkey, if passed, to other presidential systems in the world such as the USA causing so much restlessness in the secular world? Jaber al-Harami, Editor-in-Chief of Qatar’s al-Sharq newspaper, for his part, asked, clearly rhetorically: “Why is Europe afraid of change in Turkey?” [17] Maybe the simplest way to put this saga would be in the words of Ahmed bin Rashid bin Saeed, a professor of political media at Riyadh’s King Saud University, who said that:

The constitutional amendments on which the Turkish people will vote next month will make Turkey stronger and more stable. This is what frightens Europe.” [16]

Economic Developments

To perceive this in another way: whilst Europe is busy fighting over Brexit, Dexit, Auxit, Frexit, Nexit [18] and God knows what other countries in the Union are suffering from similar Euro-marital upheavals, it will be a hard pill to swallow watching one of the historically worst economies in the world perished by military coups, become the sixth-largest in Europe and projected to become the fifth, [19] at the hands of a commoner who used to sell buns to earn some extra cash in his youth. [20] Not least the industrial, political, military and diplomatic improvements in Turkey and most notable, the “Islamisation” of Turkey under the leadership of a man trained to be an Imām or Khatīb in a Masjid.

Sometimes, in times like these, ahead of a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote in one of the most crucial referendums in the modern day, you need a few Turko-phobes to push you in the right direction.

And in Allah we put our trust.

Source: www.islam21c.com


Co-written by Haneef b. Ahmad and Ahmed Hammuda


[1] A. H. Atilgan, “Turkey’s constitutional change ‘good’ for region: PM,” Anadolu Agency, 10 January 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkeys-constitutional-change-good-for-region-pm/723733. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[2] T. Abdulrazaq, “Turkey’s constitutional referendum: What you need to know – Middle East Monitor,” 14 April 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170414-turkeys-constitutional-referendum-what-you-need-to-know/. [Accessed 15 April 2017].
[3] K. K. a. I. Cimen, “Turkish MPs approve constitution change,” Anadolu Agency, 21 January 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-mps-approve-constitution-change/731807. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[4] M. Tosun, “Turkey’s opposition not to appeal constitution plans,” Anadolu Agency, 14 February 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkeys-opposition-not-to-appeal-constitution-plans/750270. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[5] E. G. Murat Paksoy, “The people will decide on constitution changes: Erdogan,” Anadolu Agency, 13 January 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/politics/the-people-will-decide-on-constitution-changes-erdogan/726686. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[6] E. Avundukluoglu, “Erdogan urges Turks abroad to vote ‘despite obstacles’,” Anadolu Agency, 08 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/politics/erdogan-urges-turks-abroad-to-vote-despite-obstacles/766942. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[7] S. U. M. A. Coskun Ergul, “President ‘must be born in Turkey’ condition to change,” Anadolu Agency, 28 December 2016. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/president-must-be-born-in-turkey-condition-to-change/716046. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[8] Sputnik News, “Constitutional Reform’s Aim to Boost President’s Accountability – Erdogan’s Aide,” 28 February 2017. [Online]. Available: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702281051113560-turkey-constitutional-reform/. [Accessed 15 April 2017].
[9] R. SOYLU, “AK Party official appeals to skeptics in Washington about executive presidency – Daily Sabah,” 31 March 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2017/03/31/ak-party-official-appeals-to-skeptics-in-washington-about-executive-presidency. [Accessed 15 April 2017].
[10] United Nations, “Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961,” United Nations, 18 April 1961. [Online]. Available: http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_1_1961.pdf. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[11] Anadolu Agency, “Europe says No to freedom of speech – infographic – Anadolu Agency,” Anadolu Agency 2017, 11 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/info/infographic/5269. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[12] B. A. a. E. Avundukluoglu, “Erdogan lashes out at Germany over rally bans,” Anadolu Agency, 05 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/europe/erdogan-lashes-out-at-germany-over-rally-bans/764528. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[13] Anadolu Agency, “German govt against blanket ban on Turkish rallies,” Anadolu Agency 2017, 13 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/europe/german-govt-against-blanket-ban-on-turkish-rallies/770664. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[14] Anadolu Agency, “Europe’s mask has come off now, says President Erdogan,” Anadolu Agency, 12 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/europe/europes-mask-has-come-off-now-says-president-erdogan/769734. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[15] Middle East Eye, “”Islamist terror” upsets Muslims, says Erdogan – YouTube,” Middle East Eye, 3 February 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCMr27x6tac. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[16] A. a.-M. a. A. A. correspondents, “Regional actors slam Dutch ‘escalations’ against Turkey,” Anadolu Agency, 13 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/regional-actors-slam-dutch-escalations-against-turkey/770644. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[17] J. al-Harmi, “جابر الحرمي on Twitter: “هولندا تحتجز وزيرة الأسرة التركية عند دخولها أراضيها لشرح التعديلات الدستورية للأتراك المقيمين .. لماذا أوروبا خائفة من التغيير في #تركيا ؟! https://t.co/zwHE3kpPcA”,” 11 March 2017. [Online]. Available: https://twitter.com/jaberalharmi/status/840651009923919872. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[18] N. F. ALINA POLYAKOVA, “Frexit? Dexit? Auxit? No Way. Britain Is Special. – The New York Times,” The New York Times Company, 6 July 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/opinion/frexit-dexit-auxit-no-way-britain-is-special.html?_r=0. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[19] Foreign & Commonwealth Office, “Turkey: latest killer facts about the economy – GOV.UK,” Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 29 September 2014. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/turkey-latest-killer-facts-about-the-economy/turkey-latest-killer-facts-about-the-economy. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
[20] BBC, “Recep Tayyip Erdogan to run for Turkey presidency – BBC News,” BBC, 1 July 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28106247. [Accessed 13 March 2017].




About Haneef Ibn Ahmad


  1. The triumph of the Monster Raving Ego Presidency isn’t actually very impressive. The 145,000 people detained – and so prevented from voting – for alleged involvement in last year’s military coup, the decision to allow voting papers which had not been stamped as legally valid to be included in the count, and the questions over whether voting actually was free and secret – especially in Kurdish areas – makes the 2% majority for Caliph Erdogan rather questionable. On top of that, of course, is the matter of how the expatriates actually voted and – the most important bit – how their votes were counted, which makes Erdogan’s triumph even more dubious.
    As for Erdogan’s fantasies of free admission to anywhere in Europe for Turkish citizens without conforming to the EU’s standards of behaviour, his ministers’ assumption that they can turn up anywhere they like in Europe and campaign for Turkish domestic policies without consulting the governments of the country’s concerned has made Turkey even more reviled at ministerial and popular levels throughout Europe.

  2. The article suggests that this referendum supports the so-called rise of Islam in Turkey. Rather it re-inforces its secular constitution giving Turkish president sweeping powers including the right to oppress those who work for true Islamic revival in Turkey.

    We as Muslims should not engage in dog-whistle politics but speak the truth in accordance with the divine commandment to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.

    Turkey continues to promote nationalistic sentiments rather than Islamic bond, disregards the Shariah and betrayed our brothers and sisters in Aleppo in their hour of need.

    Yes, there are international powers trying to de-stabilise Turkey as a muslim majority country but the problem is being made worse the the Turkish government’s promotion of secularism and the nation-state model of governance.

    • Reinforces its secular constitution?

      -I think you made this point up brother.

      Gives the president the right to oppress those working for ‘true Islamic revival’?

      -Leap pf logic here. Why would he do this? Not quite brother, I think you’ve grabbed the wrong end of the stick here.

  3. hard to suppress the happiness at the result

    we praise the Almighty and ask for the best; in the coming years, decades

    memory of mursi lingers on; we were on cloud nine.

    may He once again keep us on it

  4. Speaking before Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim thanked the Turkish people for their decision to back the constitutional amendments.

    “We are all brothers and sisters in a single body standing against traitors,” Yildirim said, speaking at the headquarters of his governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Ankara.

    “Thank you Turkey, thank you my holy nation… The nation said the last word and said ‘Yes’,” he said.

  5. Speaking to Al Jazeera outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul, Erdal Erdinc Durucu, 37, said Erdogan has started a new age for Turkey, and ended another.

    “Until today, our hands were tied. Our president has been trying to do many good things for us. But different powers tried to prevent him from doing so,” Durucu said.

    “The recent coup attempt was the latest example of this. God willing, we beat this attempt like others… Turkey is ready to rule the world now. The Ottoman Empire is coming back.”

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