President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has succeeded in pushing through the biggest political changes Turkey has seen since the republic was founded in 1923. And like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who founded modern Turkey, President Erdogan will go down in history as one of the country’s great reformers. But there is one stark and overriding difference between the two of them. Where Ataturk looked to the future, to bring Turkey closer to Europe as a modern state, Erdogan is looking to the past in the hope of recapturing the glory of the Ottoman era.
The vote shows the polarization of Turkey’s politics: just 51.4% of the population supported the changes, with Turkey’s three biggest cities all voting ‘No.’ However, if there’s one thing that just about everyone can agree on, it’s that these constitutional changes will fundamentally alter the course of Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy.