Turkey referendum: PKK and Gulenists saying ‘no’, so we say ‘yes’, says PM

Binali Yildirim, Turkish Prime Minister

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who spoke at an opening ceremony in Istanbul today, criticised the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and its leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on its stance in Turkey’s constitutional referendum.

“Wake up, Mr. Kemal,” the prime minister began by saying, “Turkey chose its regime in 1923 [referring to the founding of the Turkish Republic]. Today we are changing the system not the regime. We are bringing an administrative system that will take us further. You did every thing you could to try and hinder us, but now the people will decide.”

Yildirim outlined their approach to the constitutional referendum by saying, “now do you know what this constitutional change is my dear countryman? The thing the CHP is saying ‘no’ to? Do you know why we will say yes, because the PKK and the Gulenists will say ‘no’.”

The prime minister also talked about his governments achievements. “Politics is done for the people. Istanbul is a global city. We constructed several monumental constructions for Istanbul; the fast train, the Eurasia Tunnel, the third bridge and the third airport. We are thinking about our people’s security and quality of life. We will continue to provide these services for our people,” Yildirim concluded.

The discourse of Turkey’s main political actors in the run-up to Turkey’s referendum on the proposed constitutional reforms is sharpening. Speaking to the press in parliament, the CHP’s deputy leader Engin Altay asked, “if you are going to label everyone that is working for the no campaign as terrorists, what is the point of the referendum?”

With huge variations in the figures given by opinion polls, tensions are expected to rise with social polarisation hitting new heights in a country already strife with infighting; ethnic, sectarian and political.