Turkey: Understanding the Constitutional Referendum

Turkey (HRW) – Questions and Answers on What It Means for Human Rights, Rule of Law

Human Rights Watch examines, in a question-and-answer document released today, what proposed constitutional amendments that would expand presidential powers could mean for human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.

Voters in Turkey will decide in a referendum on April 16, 2017, whether to approve constitutional amendments that would change the structure of governance in the country from a parliamentary system to a presidential one, greatly increasing the powers of the presidency.

“The constitutional referendum has far-reaching implications for Turkey,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The more information people have about it, the better.”

By Burak Su – Gezi parkı, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The document includes information about the difference between a presidential and parliamentary system for human rights protection; the changes voters in Turkey are being asked to approve; the role of the parliament and the prospects for independence of the courts under the proposed new system; the assessment of international legal experts on the changes; and the timing of the vote.

Editor note – Read the document here for more details.

This report prepared by Human Rights Watch.