Foreign press: Vote result boost for Erdogan, AK Party
Sunday’s referendum in which government-sponsored constitutional reforms were voted on was covered extensively by the foreign press, which interpreted the public support for reforms as boost for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for the general elections in 2011. The voting results slightly exceeded previous polls and the even the AK Party’s expectations, giving Erdogan a boost ahead of general elections next year, said the Los Angeles Times. An article by Israeli newspaper Haaretz’s Alon Liel said the referendum’s results were a triumph for Erdogan. “It’s hard to imagine the heads of Turkey’s army plotting another coup, given that the reforms now allow them to be tried in civilian court, or the country’s high court banning certain political parties as it has in the past,” Liel wrote. He also said that it was very likely that Erdogan would prevail in the June 2011 election following the referendum results and that this could make him “the longest-serving, and most influential, Turkish leader since Ataturk.” The Economist magazine interpreted the referendum results as a signal of continued support for the AK Party in the run up to nationwide parliamentary elections to be held next June. The Wall Street Journal said the package of 26 constitutional amendments has been touted as a key battle in the struggle to determine Turkey’s future by both sides: the country’s secular establishment and a rising conservative elite that Erdogan represents. “On Sunday, Mr. Erdogan appeared to win convincingly,” the US daily said. Financial Times reported that the referendum results, a much stronger endorsement than expected with 58 percent voting, has certainly cheered investors. The BBC said the changes are aimed at bringing Turkey more in line with the EU, which the government wants to join. The Guardian said the referendum delivered clear support for Erdogan’s plans to curtail judiciary and make armed forces subservient to civilian rule.