Elmar Brok, a member of the European Parliament (EP) from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, has called on Turks living in Germany to vote against a constitutional reform package that will introduce an executive presidency in Turkey if approved in a referendum in April, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.
Half of the 3 million Turkish citizens residing in Germany started voting on Monday for a referendum that will be held in Turkey on April 16.
Speaking to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Brok said the proposed constitutional reforms will cause Turkey to drift away from Europe.
“I advise Turkish citizens to use their vote against the constitutional changes, vote for freedom,” said Broke.
Underlining that Turkey cannot be a member of the European Union if the constitutional reforms are approved in the referendum, Brok said Turks should not approve the proposed presidential system because it will harm democracy and the rule of law.
In January, Turkey’s Parliament passed the constitutional amendments later approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that would transform the political order into an executive-style presidential system, effectively widening the scope of powers of the position.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pushed through the legislation that President Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.