After nation firmly approves major reform package, Erdogan pledges brand-new, broad-based consensus constitution
Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Istanbul provincial headquarters after overwhelming approval of a major constitutional reform package in a referendum yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to launch a process today to make a brand-new civilian constitution by seeking a broad-based consensus and getting the views of all sectors of society. Stating that an advanced democracy, expanded rights and freedoms and the rule of law benefit everyone, Erdogan said, "Both those voting yes and those voting no in the referendum won. No matter if they wanted it or not, the mentality of the tutelage regime lost. The pro-coup mindset was tonight's losing party. The mindset resisting change and what it will bring lost. From now on, the tutelage regime is set to become a thing of the past." Saying that the referendum's outcome will frustrate those who favor coups, Erdogan said, "From now on, the power of the national will is to undermine dirty games." He added, "Today society's cries for justice won over those trying to cling to their privileges. Rightness and justice won. We want to build a Turkey governed by rules, not rulers." Interpreting the referendum's outcome, Erdogan said, "Our people said they want an advanced democracy, said yes to the rule of law but not the law of superiors, said yes to the supremacy of the national will, and expressed their wish for tutelage mindsets to end. Everyone should understand this strong message from the people." Hailing support from the package from various sectors of society, Erdogan said, "As a nation, we crossed a historic threshold in the struggle for an advanced democracy and the rule of law. It pleases us that together we raised the bar of democracy, law and justice in our country." Stressing that those who place their hopes in illegal gangs, terrorist groups, and shadowy centers are doomed to be disappointed, Erdogan said, "From now on, those hindering change, democratization and growth in Turkey will better understand that they can't get away with anything." Calling Sept. 12 – the date of the landmark referendum and the 30th anniversary of the 1980 coup – a milestone in the history of Turkish democracy, Erdogan also said the reform package ends the immunity of coup perpetrators from prosecution and guarantees the safety of personal information, among other things. Erdogan also said the approval is not sufficient in itself but makes a good beginning for Turkey's further democratization. Stating that the referendum wasn't a conflict between political parties, Erdogan said, "Today's yes vote is a result of our people's longing for democracy. People didn't vote on political parties in the referendum. The will shown today reflects the support that people from different political viewpoints gave to what they believe is right." Erdogan also praised those who approved the package for following their hearts and acting independently of political concerns.