In emotional speech, Erdogan urges approval of reform package in september referendum
In a highly emotional speech employing letters from young people executed after Turkey's last coup nearly 30 years ago, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday called on voters to approve the government's constitutional amendment package in a September referendum. The referendum, set for the 30th anniversary of the coup, is a day to "face the torture, cruelty, and inhuman practices of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup," Erdogan said at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting. "We will settle scores with the untimely farewells and young deaths," he added. "We will settle scores with the mentality that ended the lives of 17-year-old children." Erdogan said the proposed constitutional amendments aren't a project that belongs to the AK Party, a single individual, a certain group or anybody else, but instead constitute a project to meet the demands for a long-needed transformation in Turkey. He appealed to all voters, regardless of how they voted in previous elections, to vote yes in the referendum, saying the vote isn't about political parties but the country's future. Erdogan said referendums are a democratic right frequently employed in advanced democracies. "Our noble nation will not be voting on the current government or the opposition party's policies but on its own future," he said, adding that the referendum is a democratic means, not a political one, and that voting yes would be choosing the path of democracy.