'Yes' to referendum will end all terrorism in Turkey: PM

Binali Yildirim says approving key changes to constitution will culminate public efforts to protect Turkish democracy

'Yes' to referendum will end all terrorism in Turkey: PM File photo

By Esra Kaymak Avci


The nation saying Yes to the April 26 referendum on constitutional changes will end all kinds of terrorism in Turkey, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Sunday. 

"With the new constitution, Turkey will be cleared of FETO, the PKK, as well as the Daesh terror group," Yildirim told a Yes rally, referring to the FETO terror group, blamed for last July’s defeated coup; the PKK, which has killed over 1,100 people since July 2015; and Daesh, currently active in Syria and responsible for numerous attacks in Turkey.

"Turkey will get rid of living with terrorism. It will have a clear view of its future," he added.

Yildirim, speaking in the Kahramankazan district of the capital Ankara -- where nine citizens were martyred during FETO’s coup attempt -- argued that approving the referendum will bring peace and stability and strengthen Turkey and also provide a bright future to its people.

He added that approval will further strengthen Turkey's successful counter-terrorism efforts against FETO, the PKK, and Daesh.

"We struck great blows against the PKK, FETO and Daesh. Qandil [northern Iraq, the PKK’s so-called headquarters] collapsed on the PKK, [Kahraman] Kazan collapsed on FETO, and Al-Bab collapsed on Daesh," he said, referring in the last instance to a key northern Syrian city in the fight against Daesh.

The July 15 defeated coup, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen and his terrorist group FETO left at least 248 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured

Nine of them were martyred close to Kahramankazan’s Akinci Air Base, since renamed Murted Air Base, making it a symbol of resistance to the coup-plotters.

More than 1,100 people, including security force personnel and civilians, have lost their lives since the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July 2015.

Before and during the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began last August to rid northern Syria near Turkey’s border of Daesh and other terrorist groups, Daesh has committed a string of deadly terrorist attacks in Turkey, including the Istanbul New Year’s Eve attack at the Reina nightclub that killed 39.

Yes or No?

Praising the people of Kahramankazan for opposing the putsch attempt, Yildirim said saying Yes to the referendum will culminate public efforts to complete and protect Turkish democracy.

Turkey currently uses its 1982 Constitution, which replaced the earlier constitution of 1961. Both were ratified by popular referendums under military juntas.

Although the 1982 Constitution has been amended several times mainly through referendums, many critics say being ruled by a constitution written by the military is unacceptable.

After long debate, parliament last month passed an 18-article constitutional reform bill. On April 16, the electorate will be asked to vote up or down on the changes, which would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president and abolish the post of prime minister.

The Yes campaign is backed by the ruling Justice and Development or AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) oppose it.

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