President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday evening declared victory in the constitutional referendum with a margin of 1.3 million votes, and said Turkey has resolved a 200-year-old conflict in its administration.
“Today… Turkey has taken a historic decision,” Erdoğan told reporters at his official Istanbul residence, the Huber Palace.
“That decision was no ordinary one. Today is the day when a change, a decision to shift to a truly serious administrative system was made,” he said.
“I would like to thank all our citizens, regardless of how they voted, who went to the polling stations to protect their national will.”
He pointed out that Turkey “has the power to overcome all kinds of problems, difficulties and crises” and the attempted coup last July was the last clear example of it.
The ‘Yes’ win also set the stage for a transformation of the governmental system, a change made through civilian means for the first time in Turkey’s history as a republic.
“In the past, our constitutions and governmental systems formed by these [constitutions] had been decided either in extraordinary conditions like our independence war or during coup times. For the first time in republic history, Turkey changed its governmental system through civilian means,” Erdoğan said.
He also said that the new system of government will not be enacted until after the 2019 elections.
“All articles of the constitutional change will not go in effect soon. Especially, the changes related to the presidential system will be enacted after Nov. 3, 2019.
He also called on other countries to respect the results of the referendum.
“We would like other countries and institutions to show respect to the decision of the nation,” he said, calling Turkey’s allies to now show greater awareness towards Turkey’s “sensitivities” in the “fight against terror”.
PM Yıldırım emphasizes unity after key referendum
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Sunday emphasized unity in his victory speech at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)’s headquarters in Ankara after he declared victory for the “Yes” campaign in the constitutional referendum.
While delivering his balcony speech, Yıldırım told his supporters, “This is a decision made by the people. We have opened a new page in our democratic history.”
Thanking all voters regardless of whether they voted “yes” or “no”, the premier said that the nation had the final say in this historic referendum.
“We have said different things in [rally] squares; we have voiced different things to the nation but the nation gave its final world by saying ‘Yes’.”
“There are no losers in this referendum. The whole nation emerged as the winner,” he said.
The Turkish premier also said the nation used the ballot box to respond to terror groups.
“In this referendum, our nation gave the best response at the ballot box to the terrorist organization that conducted the July 15 coup attempt, the PKK terrorist organization and foreign powers which treat Turkey as an enemy,” he said.
FM Çavuşoğlu says referendum outcome heralds ‘new Turkey’
Speaking in the southern Antalya province, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said there was a “new Turkey in the true sense” after Sunday’s referendum outcome.
Giving a speech to a crowd of spectators who had assembled at the provincial headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Çavuşoğlu said, “As of now, there is a new Turkey. There will be stability and trust in the new Turkey. In this new Turkey there will be reliance — the goals of 2023, 2053 and 2071 will be reached.”
Thanking his fellow campaigners, governance organizations, volunteers at the ballots boxes and everyone else who had worked towards the realization of the referendum, the minister said, “I thank all my fellow campaigners, who in a self-sacrificing fashion, without pursuing any interest, worked for the sake of the auspicious journey, for the sake of the Turkish Republic, the homeland, the people, the flag and the state. To work together with you, shoulder to shoulder, to embark together with you on this beneficial journey, is an honor, a privilege to us.”
With more than 97 percent of votes counted Sunday, 51.4 percent of voters backed the constitutional changes that usher in a new political system.
Sunday’s referendum asked voters to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to an 18-article bill that would see the country switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, among other changes.