ANKARA (Sputnik) — The decision on transforming Turkey from a parliamentary republic to a presidential one, adopted in a referendum, is one of the most important reforms in the Turkish history, Erdogan said on Sunday.
"The voting has become an important indicator showing that people protect their country, their future. A historic decision on Turkey's governance system has been made today. With the help of the people we implemented one of the most important governance reform in our history," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.
Erdogan added that the referendum result was a common victory of all the 80 million people living in Turkey or abroad, while "all the disputes were left behind."
According to the preliminary results of the referendum provided by the Anadolu news agency, supporters of the constitutional amendments increasing the powers of the country's president are gaining 51.3 percent of votes after 99% of votes being processed.
On January 21, the Turkish parliament approved constitutional amendments that would strengthen the presidential powers over the legislature and the judiciary. If approved in the referendum, the president will also be able to remain the head of the political party he represents, have the ability to appoint a number of top judges and declare a state of emergency, which is not allowed by the current legislation. The decision was criticized by opposition parties as a power grab attempt by the president.