euronews’ Yalcin Ademoglu: We are joined by Turkish writer and journalist Roni Margulies from Istanbul. Mr. Margulies, what does this referendum mean for Turkey?
Roni Margulies: This referendum has been called to introduce some small changes to the constitution. It’s insufficient to bring any significant and important changes. I’ve no doubt the result of the referendum result will be a yes. The main changes relate to the guardianship of the highest courts: the Constitutional Court and the High Council of Magistrates. The military’s supervision of these institutions will be somewhat reduced. It is a small step towards democracy. After that, we have to continue to work and campaign for a wider revision of the entire constitution.
euronews: What do you think of the main opposition party’s rejection of the proposed reforms?
Roni Margulies: Why do you talk about opposition? I suppose you mean the Republican People’s Party. Their position is quite clear. The Republicans are close to the state. The struggle of the past 10 to 15 years could be described as a battle between the security forces and the state. They want to maintain the status quo. They’ve said it very openly. They oppose all these changes which will democratise the state.
euronews: The European Union supports constitutional changes. If the vote is ‘no’, how will that effect the negotiations for Turkey’s membership?
Roni Margulies: What will be the knock-on effect for membership negotiations if the result is no? That doesn’t bother me too much. What concerns me now is that if the result is ‘no’ that we are going to have to live for decades more with a constitution drafted after the coup d’etat in 1982.
It will be very difficult to try and change the constitution again. Those who don’t want change will say to us that we have already asked the people in a referendum and hence the constitution can no longer be changed.