When we look at the results of the referendum recently organized by Turkey to amend the Constitution, the Constitution that dates back to the Ataturk era (1923), it has become crystal clear that most major cities of Turkey such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Mersin and Bodrum have voted ‘No’ to the constitutional amendments which were propagated by the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters.
These people are not aware of the consequences. They are not aware how the amendments can ruin Turkey by trusting all in the hands of one person which does not establish legitimacy, especially in a multi-ethnic society such as Turkey.
It is clear most of the amendments are tailored, as usual, to suit the personality of Erdogan and his royal wishes, irrespective of the rules of democracy, independence of authorities, or interest in public freedoms.
What Erdogan has not done is not strange. He preceded Iran, Bourguiba of Tunisia, and AbdelNasser of Egypt because the constitutions of these countries were designed to suit the leaders, regardless of reality and those who will come after them, who may not have the same personal qualities.
The voting pattern during the referendum also shows clearly that the urban and coastal areas and major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara the capital, and others which recorded 49 percent of the votes are the veins of the Turkish economy and constitute 72 percent of the Turkish economy.
The Turks living in these areas and who voted against the amendments read 85 percent of the books published in Turkey. The areas that voted in favor of the amendments make only 28 percent contributions to the economy and have not read more than 15 percent of the books. These figures have frightening implications and the quality of this victory praised by some naïve people can be imagined.
There is no doubt that President Erdogan is well aware of the consequences of the rejection of the constitutional amendments by Ankara and the major Turkish cities, its implications and impact on his popularity in future.
The stand adopted by some ordinary people in rural and modest urban areas who supported the party which claims to represent religion is a recurring issue in the region. We saw that many times during elections in Kuwait, and the results of the elections in Iran more than once. We saw something similar in Egypt during the era of Mohammad Morsi when the Brotherhood ruled Egypt briefly, who although lost major cities but swept the countryside.
What happened in Turkey is not far off from what happened in Egypt. The ruling Muslim Brotherhood party organized a referendum in 2012 on the draft constitution prepared by them without other civilian and labor forces, and created a sharp rift which led them losing the power in Egypt.
Here, the victory of Erdogan remains incomplete or rather bitter. If the concerned judicial committee which monitored elections in Turkey agrees to the appeals of the opposition, we may see different results soon, which is possible but generally a weak possibility.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf