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Turkey holds rallies ahead of referendum on constitutional reforms

09-06-2010 08:42 BJT

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Turkey's top political leaders have held rallies ahead of a referendum on constitutional reforms. The reforms mainly focus on reorganizing the country's high courts.

Prime Minister and the leader of the governing AK Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressed tens of thousands in Istanbul on Sunday.

Erdogan's government insists the amendments will strengthen democracy, expand the rights of women and children and enshrine the right to privacy.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, said, "My dear brothers, Turkey is saying yes. Everyone who wants a greater Turkey is saying yes. People who want a progressive, democratic and free Turkey are saying yes. People who want a free justice system which is not controlled by other powers are saying yes."

And in the capital Ankara, thousands gathered for a rally held by the main opposition party. Leader of the Republican People's Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu asked for a No vote.

Kemal Kilidaroglu, Leader of Republican People's Party, said, "Early polls are on the way. If you grant us the authority, we are going to say 'No' on September 12th and we will go through a path to change and Turkey will change."

Analysts say the September 12 vote, which will decide whether to rewrite the Constitution,might turn into a vote of confidence for the ruling AK Party.

The reforms include putting military commanders before civilian courts and giving parliament a say in appointing judges.

The AK Party says the 26-article package of reforms will strengthen democracy and help the secular Muslim nation's bid to join the European Union.

But critics say it will give the ruling AK Party more control over the judiciary.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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