Kurds will vote no in referendum for presidential system in Turkey: poll

Turkey's Islamist dictator Tayyip Erdogan

According to a poll by the Political and Social Research Centre (SAMER) conducted in the majority Kurdish southeast of Turkey, 57.4% of voters will vote against constitutional reform while 25.1% will vote in favour of it. 68.3% of respondents in the region also think going to a referendum during state of emergency is not right.

The poll, which was conducted in 16 provinces with the participation of 1,112 people also revealed that 61.3% are against a president with political party affiliations, which the new constitution promises. The research also says 61.2% of participants thought that the constitutional reform would not be a solution to Turkey’s problems while 21.9% thought the opposite.

89.7% of HDP voters said they would vote ‘no’ in the referendum while this figure is 75.7% with CHP supporters and 68% with MHP voters according to the poll.

The research has also shone light on an issue raised by politicians from the different camps in the referendum: that people do not exactly know what the reforms are. The poll suggests only 13.7% of participants knew what the constitutional reform proposes while 42.2% did not and 21.8% said they did not know enough to comment.

So far at least 21 parties across the political spectrum have declared they will vote against the constitutional reform that foresees the parliamentary system effectively replaced by a presidential one. Critics say the 18-article reform package passed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will consolidate power in the hands of President Erdogan and erode checks and balances.

The majority AKP, who got 49.5% of the votes in the November 2015 general election, says the reforms will strengthen Turkey and put an end to the “two-pronged system that is shackling Turkey” between the prime ministerial position and president’s role, which until Erdogan’s election by the people was largely ceremonial.