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Participant Code: 397784
Submit a question for Dr. Erdemir
Erdogan’s powers. Unofficial results, which the Turkish opposition has said it would challenge on the basis of fraud, showed a narrow victory with 51.4 percent of votes cast in favor of the changes. The new powers to the Turkish presidency are vast, including the ability to: 1) appoint judges without input from parliament; 2) issue decrees with the force of law; 3) dissolve parliament; 4) have the sole prerogative over all senior appointments in the bureaucracy; and 4) exercise exclusive control of the armed forces. This will create a system with few checks on the President, as head of state, and also the head of government.
This referendum is the just the latest example of Recep Erdogan’s work, since he first became Prime Minister of Turkey in 2002, to make Turkey an Islamist nation that he could rule. On July 15th, 2016, in response to a Turkish military coup attempt, Erdogan moved swiftly to imprison or otherwise punish thousands of his political opponents, and imposed multiple states of emergency. Erdogan also called on the United States to demand that they extradite to Turkey Fethullah Gulen, a former Turkish cleric and a former ally of Erdogan, now living in exile in Pennsylvania, whom Erdogan claimed was behind the coup.
In the past, Erdogan has even gone so far to speak of re-establishing the Ottoman Empire.
Did President Erdogan win his recent electoral victory legitimately? What is the likely result of this, and other recent controversial incidents, on U.S.-Turkish relations? And how will the situation in Turkey affect the U.S. support of Kurdish militias in Syria, which are currently the backbone of anti-Islamist coalition?
Please join us as we hear from Dr. Aykan Erdemir as he explores these questions and more.
Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Dr. Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015) who served in the EU-TurkeyJoint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.