17:31 GMT +305 December 2016
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    A poster with a picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, displayed in Istanbul, Turkey

    Turkish People Likely to Vote Against Reform Expanding Erdogan's Powers

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    The Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will submit to parliament within two week a draft of the controversial constitution reform expanding presidential powers.

    Mustafa Sentop, head of the assembly's constitutional commission, told Dogan news agency that the country’s constitution system needs to be changed to keep Turkey developing.

    In order to win the necessary majority in the parliament, the AKP is seeking support from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

    In Turkey, any constitutional change needs the support of at least 367 deputies out of the country's 550-seat assembly to pass directly, while the support of at least 330 deputies is needed for constitutional issues to be taken to a referendum.

    Presently, the AKP has 316 deputies, excluding the parliament's speaker, while the HMP has 40 seats.

    On Tuesday, it was reported that the MHP had made "significant progress" in talks with the AKP.

    Leader of the MHP Devlet Bahceli told reporters that the bill could be sent to the constitutional commission as soon as "one or two" issues are overcome.

    In an interview with Sputnik Turkiye, Ozer Sencar, director of major Turkish polling agency Metropoll, commented on public sentiments over the projected reform.

    "The fact that the ruling AKP and the opposition MHP are close to an agreement on the constitutional changes does not mean that the projected reform will be approved at a referendum," Sencar said.

    Poll results revealed that 51 percent of Turks are against a presidential political system in the country. At the same time, 10 percent are undecided.

    "The decision will depend on these 10 percent of the voters. Who will manage to win their support will win," he pointed out.

    He also commented on the fact that a constitutional referendum may be held during a state of emergency in Turkey.

    The Turkish authorities imposed the nation-wide emergency rule after the failed July 15 coup. In early-October, it was extended for another 90 days.

    "Taking into account the personality of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, I can assume that he will not organize the referendum during the state of emergency, in order to prevent speculations on the issue," Sencar said.

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    referendum, constitutional reform, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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