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Worst Possible Outcome on Turkey Referendum

Monday, April 17, 2017

Washington, D.C.– The following is a statement on the Turkey referendum by Blaise Misztal, national security director at the Bipartisan Policy Center:

“The passage of Turkey’s constitutional referendum by a thin margin and amid numerous and serious accusations of fraud was the worst possible outcome.”

“It empowers President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to single handedly transform the country from the Western, secular, democratic nation Mustafa Kemal Ataturk sought to create in 1923, into the Islamist autocracy Erdogan has long advocated. In that respect, this vote is much more momentous than even Brexit, as it sets the stage for a wholesale transformation of the foundations of the Turkish state.

“The passage of Turkey’s constitutional referendum by a thin margin and amid numerous and serious accusations of fraud was the worst possible outcome.”

“The fact that the vote was so close — despite Erdogan censoring the press, jailing political opponents, and effectively disenfranchising some half a million citizens in the Southeast — will only fuel Erdogan’s paranoia. Convinced, and not without good reason, that enemies in the state and society are going to seek to overturn the vote or oust him from power, Erdogan will only crack down harder on the opposition.

“Under these conditions, stability will not return to Turkey any time soon. Nor should the United States expect that Turkey will become any more cooperative on issues critical to U.S. national security, such as the fight against ISIS. From now on, it might be most accurate to refer to that territory that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea as Erdogan-istan.”

KEYWORDS: BLAISE MISZTAL, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKEY