Erdogan turns on critics before crucial vote

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Erdogan turns on critics before crucial vote

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The war of words between Turkey’s government and opposition is hotting up ahead of this weekend’s constitutional referendum, seen as crucial in the country’s campaign to join the EU.

The main opposition party’s accused the prime minister of trying to take control of the courts. He’s replied by accusing his critics of “disinformation and black propaganda”.

The proposed changes include curbing military power and reforming the judiciary. Opinion polls suggest the vote is on a knife-edge.

The EU believes a ‘yes’ result would be a positive step in Turkey’s campaign to join, by neutering the military’s traditional influence.

The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the plans will bring the constitution, drafted after a military coup in 1982, more democratic.

The EU Commission has also welcomed the proposed judicial reforms, but accuses Ankara of stifling public debate.

The prime minister’s critics believe he wants the power to appoint judges as a way of promoting the Islamist cause.

He’s dismissed such claims, saying he’s never discriminated between secular and non-secular Turks.