World News II

Turkish parliament approves constitutional reform, expanded powers for Erdogan

Turkey’s parliament has approved a controversial constitutional reform package, which aims to empower the office of the presidency. The parliamentary approval paves the way for a referendum on the measures.

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Turkish lawmakers early on Saturday voted in favor of a set of constitutional amendments designed to substantially increase the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The measure required at least 330 votes to be approved and be put forward to a referendum, which is planned for as early as April.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest in parliament, boycotted the vote. Nearly a dozen lawmakers from the party, including its leadership, are imprisoned on terrorism charges  for their alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The vote received the support of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and some lawmakers of the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The main opposition center-left Peoples’ Republican Party (CHP) voted against the measure, warning that it would lead to dictatorship.

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