Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the Turkish referendum. What happens now?

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, flanked by his wife Emine Erdogan, after the referendum results - AFP

What was decided in the referendum?

There was a narrow vote in favour of radically changing the constitution. Right now Turkey’s president is a largely ceremonial position but after the changes it will become a vastly powerful position as both the head of the government and head of state. The president will get sweeping powers to appoint judges, dissolve parliament, declare a state of emergency and make some laws by decree.

Supporters of Turkish President Erdogan wave national flags as they wait for his arrival at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

What will it mean for Turkey?

Supporters of the changes say it will give strong and stable government and help Turkey face up against terrorism, chaos in neighbouring Syria and internal threats. Opponents believe it may be the end of Turkish democracy as there are insufficient checks on the president’s power. Both sides agree it will shift power away from parliament concentrate it in the hands of the president.    

When do the changes come into effect?

Most of the changes will come into effect when the next presidential term begins in 2019. Others will start whenever there is a parliamentary election, which will probably be at the same time. Mr Erdoğan seems likely to win a 2019 election and could in theory stay in office until 2029.  

Turkish President Erdogan visits the mausoleum of Ottoman Empire Yavuz Sultan Selim after his election win Credit: EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE HANDOUT HANDOUT 

Can the opposition overturn the referendum election result?

Very unlikely. The electoral board has certified Mr Erdoğan’s Yes camp as the winner and are showing no signs of backing down from their decision. If people took to the streets in large numbers it might give the government pause but the opposition is wary of mass protests after Mr Erdoğan’s crackdown on dissent. 

What does this mean for Turkey’s relations with the EU?

Mr Erdoğan accused European leaders of behaving like “Nazis” as he tried to galvanise nationalist voters during the campaign. EU leaders spoke openly of their concerns about the constitutional changes. But Turkey has made conciliatory noises towards the EU since Sunday’s vote and many analysts expect the two sides will try to smooth over their differences now the referendum is over. 

A woman shows her hand, which reads "Tayyip Erdogan", as she waits for the arrival of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at Esenboga Airport in Ankara Credit:  REUTERS/Stringer

What about Turkey’s position in Nato?

The referendum campaign frayed Turkey’s ties with Nato allies in Europe but its most important relationship inside Nato is with the US. Donald Trump needs Turkey’s cooperation in the fight against Isil but is wary of Turkey’s hostility to America’s Kurdish allies. Mr Erdoğan may feel emboldened to act more assertively in Syria and Iraq after the referendum - with unpredictable results for Nato. 

RegisterLog incommenting policy

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes