Turkish gov’t warns of more possible terror attacks on way to referendum

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Terrorist organizations might step up their attacks in Turkey on the way to the referendum for constitutional amendments, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview on Jan. 24, noting that terrorists will no longer be able to stage attacks after Turkish people vote for a “big yes” in the referendum.

“We are taking all kinds of measures against it [terrorism]. After a big yes vote in the referendum, these terrorist organizations will get to a stage of defeat,” he said. 

Turkey is heading toward a referendum likely to be held on the first week of April, where an 18-article package of constitutional amendments aiming to usher an executive-style presidential system will be put to public vote. He said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) prime concern in the campaign will be its fight against terrorism.

“The campaign will promote a more powerful governance model and a more efficient decision-making model that will eliminate terrorism. We will run the campaign based on the idea that it is not a regime change, but is a system change. Turkey will have an effective management model that will work toward growth, development and power,” he said. 

He warned of possible assassination attempts on prominent figures ahead of the referendum in order to block the “yes” vote. 

“I believe the referendum process is a motivator for them [terror organizations]. They can create an atmosphere of fear in Turkey by using terrorist organizations in order to block the ‘yes’ votes in the referendum,” he said.

He said the AKP would not campaign jointly with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with whom it collaborated in parliament in favor of the constitutional amendments.

“Both parties will hold referendum campaigns led by their own priorities. The AKP and the MHP will not have a common referendum campaign,” he said.

Kurtulmuş responds to Kılıçdaroğlu 

Deputy Prime Minister Kurtulmuş responded to Kılıçdaroğlu’s criticism via his Twitter account later in the day, describing the CHP leader’s intervention as “political abuse.” 

“It’s understood from his statement that he neither read nor listened my words. His response to a question from a reporter, who added his own comment to it by distorting and decontextualizing my words, amounts to political abuse,” he said. 

“If this is what Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu understands from my words, how unhappy the opposition is,” Kurtulmuş adding, blasting the CHP for “lacking vision.”

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