Sea coast, central Anatolia, and the east seemed to have themajority o voters supporting it. Te eastern city o unceli,the birthplace o Kılıçdaroğlu, had a huge majority o voters who rejected the amendments as well. Te majority o voters in Eskişehir, one o the most industrialized andmodern towns o central Anatolia, and neighboring Bilecik also rejected the constitutional amendments. Among theour most populous provinces o urkey most voters inIstanbul and Ankara supported the amendments, whereasmost voters in Izmir and Adana turned them down.Te outcome reects urkey’s deeply divided politics, withthe traditional, conservative, and highly religious voterso Sunni central Anatolia, the Black Sea, and the Kurdishregions on one side o the divide, and the more secular andmodern inhabitants o the country in the Tracian, Aegean,and Mediterranean provinces on the other. Te reerendumseems to have helped reinvigorate the
betweenthose who believe in an image o a society built aroundsecular, scientic, and modern values and liestyles versusthose who believe in a counter-image o a society builtaround tradition, Sunni Islam, and conservative values andliestyles. Te 42-58 percent vote would indeed representthe relative sizes o the secularist and conservative culturalcamps in urkey.
Te overall outcome has not created a general eeling o democratization but rather one o reinorcing the ongoingkulturkamp between the orces aligned with the govern-ment and those backing the opposition. It is a conrontationrather than a compromise over the image o urkish society.Te government was extremely successul in mobilizingand uniting its traditionally-minded, conservative, Islamistsupporters, and the opposition was likewise successulin mobilizing the opposite secular, scientically-minded,modernist camp through its campaigns. Both sides appearto have ailed to reach out to the other camp. Tereore,the outcome is best interpreted as the victory o one sideand the loss o the other, which indicates that the vote was
We have no reliable data that can help us examine the impact of the campaigns of thewarring “Yes” and “No” camps in the referendum campaign. The opposition campaignedby pointing to the corruption of the government, the racism of Prime Minister R. TayyipErdoğan and his associates, and indictments against the PM and other AKP deputies,which cannot be put forward as a motion in the Grand National Assembly due to thescope of the parliamentary immunities that protect them. The AKP not only tried to reup anti-military, anti-state, and anti-establishment emotions and tout the democratizing inuences of the proposed amendments, but also provided huge handouts to relativelypoor neighborhoods across the country and leveled threats against those interest groups that did not campaign for the “Yes” vote.
not about rallying around democratic sentiments in thecountry. Te evolving constitution still seems to be repre-sentative o one image o an ideal society, not a nationalcompromise on a democratic constitution that both sideso the cultural divide can agree upon. Te opportunity ora genuine national compromise on the kind o democracy that urkey should have has once again been squandered.Instead, a majoritarian solution to democratic consolida-tion seems to have been promoted. Such a style and strategy does not address the many problems o democratic consoli-dation, but only postpones them.
What Lies Ahead?
Te immediate outcome o the reerendum will be soulsearching within the CHP and MHP party organizations.Te result o the reerendum means that the leaders o themilitary coup o September 12, 1980 will be interrogated, adebate about the legal procedure to be ollowed will occupy the agenda, and the coup leaders may even be tried eventu-ally. New appointments on the High Courts o the country will create new controversies, debates, and clashes betweenthe government and the opposition. Te AKP will pushor a campaign on a new constitution. Te ideas the party seems to be toying with do not bode well or the prospectso either a orm o elite consensus or convergence over thenature o democracy in urkey. Te PM has once againbegun to voice the possibility o a change rom parliamen-tary democracy to a presidential system. Tis is perceivedin the secularist camp as the AKP’s attempt to establishan elected sultan, and thus sow the seeds o a version o Russian Putinism on urkish soil. Te AKP may calculatethat it can sell this idea both to the United States, whichit considers a strategic partner, and to its Islamist camp,
The opportunity for a genuinenational compromise on thekind of democracy that Turkeyshould have has once again beensquandered.