Until the 1980s, Turkey’s long-standing parliamentarism had precluded debates about presidentialism. In the following decade, the two right-wing presidents, Ozal and Demirel, briefly promoted presidentialism but failed to initiate a system change. However, the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 2002 electoral victory ushered in a new period; after over a decade of political dominance, the AKP, under President Erdogan, began pushing for radical and controversial constitutional changes. The April 16, 2017, constitutional referendum, proposed a new “partisan presidential system” with almost no separation of powers and without any checks and balances. The Nationalist Action Party (MHP), with a split and polarized base, initially objected to systemic constitutional changes, but later not only expressed support for them but became the key actor for the referendum. The entire process of the referendum seems to have produced a new cross-cutting cleavage in Turkish politics.
The April 16, 2017, presidential referendum has created an unprecedented sociopolitical division in Turkey. The referendum has led to odd unions between former foes. It has also brought a variety of diverse political groups into one block, particularly the “no” block.
The classical sociological explanation of Turkish politics comes from Mardin’s adaptation of Lipset and Rokkan’s social cleavage theory from its European context to Turkey’s political conditions. In his seminal work, Mardin applied the center-periphery framework to the Turkish state and societal relations. In this framework, the state-founding Republican People’s Party (CHP) has represented the early Kemalist, secular, educated, pro-Western social strata–the “center.” The right-wing conservative parties of the 1950s and subsequent years–such as the Democrat Party (DP), Justice Party (AP), and Motherland Party (ANAP)–have represented the traditional, religious, and often parochial “periphery.” This center-periphery framework is also applicable to the secular-religious cleavage, to a large extent.
While the AKP started out as a center-right political party, its founders’ Islamic revivalist roots meant that it had a much more Islamic orientation. In its early years, the party espoused a democratizing legislative agenda within the context of Turkey’s EU-membership bid and the EU harmonization packages. This included elimination of the death penalty, the extension of Kurdish rights, and the normalization of civil-military relations within the state bureaucracy. Yet with later developments, including the Gezi Park protests, corruption charges against the government, the AKP-Gulen split, as well as the failed coup attempt of summer 2016 and the subsequent state of emergency and decrees, the AKP has become increasingly authoritarian.
In the midst of all these developments, the constitutional referendum for a transition from a parliamentary to “partisan presidency” system has created an unprecedented cross-cutting cleavage in Turkey’s sociopolitical fabric. Former rivals have become new allies on both blocks–that is, proponents and opponents of the constitutional change. While the block in support of a partisan presidency appears to be a predominantly right-wing coalition of conservatives, Turkish nationalists, and Islamists, those against the referendum are a far more heterogeneous group from both the Left and Right. The “no” block includes circles from almost all alignments of Turkey’s two major historical cleavages, including not only hardline Kemalist secularists and the religious right, but also Turkish right-wing nationalists and Kurdish left-wing activists. The referendum has thus brought together groups that would not have united under any other circumstances.
TURKEY’S EXPERIENCE WITH THE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM
Turkey’s experience with a parliamentary system dates back to the late Ottoman period. During that time, a representative body of deputies was formed as part of a system of constitutional monarchy, prior to the later development of a secular Republican system. The first constitutional era was quite short-lived, lasting only two years (1876-1878), and ended with an absolutist restoration of monarchical power by Abdulhamid II. Yet in this short period, an Ottoman parliament, Meclis-i Umumi, was founded and two elections were held. The second constitutional era came with the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, which also led to restoration of the parliament. The second period of the Ottoman parliament lasted until 1922, when the Ottoman parliament was officially dissolved.
In 1920, however, during the Turkish War of Independence, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and his close circle founded the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). This legislative body has remained under a parliamentary system from the time of the breakup of the former Ottoman state to the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, and held up during the early Republican period of the 1920s and 1930s as well.
During the late twentieth century, the Turkish state establishment underwent several transformations, including the 1960 coup and the 1961 constitution; the 1971 memorandum and the fall of civilian government; the 1980 coup; the junta (1980-1983), which shut down all existing political parties and banned almost all political elites from active politics; the 1982 constitution; and the post-modern military interventions of the 1990s and 2000s. The Turkish democratic system–the electoral and party system as well as social and political rights and liberties–also continued to evolve. Despite these political and institutional changes, however, the fundamentals of classic parliamentarism remained, and this was never an important or controversial source of debate. For instance, the legislative seats of the TBMM were always elected by the people; the executive branch was not only a subset of, but also derived its legitimacy from, the legislature; and the prime minister was the chief executive leader in charge as the head of government, while the president served as the head of state with relatively more ceremonial and veto powers.
That is not to say, however, that the parliamentary system was not manipulated at times, such as during the interim or junta governments. For example, the 1982 constitution not only restricted existing liberties and strengthened the central government, but also increased the authority of then-president, Kenan Evren, the September 12 junta regime’s leader. While the 1961 constitution had briefly mentioned the presidential powers in a ceremonial manner, the 1982 Constitution granted Evren the authority to send back to the TBMM passed legislations; file actions for annulment to the Constitutional Court; ratify international treaties; appoint the chief of staff, judges of the Constitutional Court, a quarter of the judges of Court of State (Danistay), members of the Military Court of Appeals (Askeri Yargitay) and High Military Administrative Court (Askeri Yuksek Idare Mahkemesi); and declare a state of emergency and martial law. From the 1980s, the Turkish system of government has remained a parliamentary one but with a president that has far more political powers than his counterparts in the parliamentary systems of the West.
Only in the 1980s, did presidentialism become a subject of debate in the political arena. During this and the following decade, two charismatic leaders of the conservative, center right-wing of politics, Turgut Ozal and Suleyman Demirel, spoke positively of the prospects of a transition to presidential system. For example, in a televised debate with well-known journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, Ozal defended the American-style presidential system in which ministers (secretaries) were from outside of the national parliament. In Ozal’s view, the existing parliamentary system, in which both MPs (deputies) and ministers came from the same pool created a conflict of interest among them and could lead to a gridlock due to diverging interests when the time came for reelection. When asked about the risk of creating an overtly strong one-man regime, Ozal defended the presidential system, stating that there would be a “separation of powers” and “checks and balances,” as the president and the parliament would each have their separate authority and domains.
Like Ozal, Demirel also noted problems in the existing parliamentary system and advocated for a more efficient government system. However, Demirel did not envision a presidential system similar to that of the Americans nor the British Westminster type; rather, he supported a French-type semi-presidentialism. In Fehmi Koru’s words, Demirel did not have much room to change the system, while Ozal, even at the height of his power, did not attempt to adopt presidentialism due to the upsurge in terrorism and the unwillingness of the military bureaucracy.
THE DEBATE OVER PRESIDENTIALISM DURING AND BEFORE THE AKP
While Ozal and Demirel were two of the most charismatic figures of the center right during the 1980s, neither had attained the level of political power Erdogan did in the 2000s. The single-party governments of Ozal and Demirel were short-lived and faced much greater opposition. The 2002 Turkish general election, which marked the beginning of the single-party government of the AKP, was a moderate electoral victory for Erdogan’s party. Due to the 10 percent national electoral threshold, many of the political parties had dropped out, with only the AKP and CHP reaching the threshold. Though votes cast for all other parties constituted about half of the total votes, these votes were wasted.
Since then, the AKP has remained in power and increased its political and electoral clout in the municipal elections as well. Its voter share surged in the 2007 and 2011 general elections, and it maintained a consistent lead in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 municipal elections. In the meantime, the appointment of the president was changed from parliamentary selection to popular election, with a French-type two-round electoral system, which was applied for the first time in 2014. Former PM Erdogan was elected president in the first round, with slightly more than 50 percent of popular vote. Similar to Ozal and Demirel, President Erdogan expressed his openness (which would later evolve into willingness) to adopting a presidential system. This issue was raised a number of times during the earlier years of the AKP government, but then it died down.
The June 7, 2015, general elections posed the first major challenge to the AKP’s single-party rule, when for the first time in its electoral history, the party did not win enough seats to form a government on its own. The Kurdish left, represented by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), also played a part in this outcome, as it contested and passed the ten percent threshold, an unprecedented achievement. The HDP’s open opposition to Erdogan’s presidential aspirations also drew attention with the motto, “We won’t let you become the president” (seni baskan yaptirmayacagiz), where the Turkish terminology for “president” (baskan) indicated the president of a presidential system. However, any hope for change was short-lived. Between the two general elections of 2015, the two-year long peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdish forces– including the PKK–was terminated. Turkey once again entered a climate of civil war and violence, affecting primarily the political and electoral conditions. In the November 1, 2015, elections, while the HDP did not fall below the threshold, the AKP won enough seats to restore its single-party rule.
Surprisingly, the chief architect behind the April 2017 referendum is neither the AKP nor Erdogan but the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and its chair, Devlet Bahceli. Rather than separate votes for each revision, 18 constitutional revisions were voted on at once. One had to vote either “yes” or “no” to all, with the simple majority of the valid vote deciding whether the entire package would pass or fail. Hence, the praise and criticism often go in totality. Opponents of this package tend to emphasize the non-separation (fusion) of powers and the concentration of all powers–legislative, executive and the judiciary–in one person, the president.
In January 2017, the Turkish Bar Association released an article-by-article analysis of the revisions package. In its view, not all of the constitutional revisions were necessarily controversial from a democratic perspective and some revisions would even enhance democratic government and the rule of law. For instance, the proposed revision on Article 9 redefines the Turkish courts as not just “independent” (bagimsiz) but “independent and impartial” (bagimsiz ve tarafsiz), which could be interpreted as a democratic refinement because the rule of law indeed requires impartiality of the court systems. Some revisions are neither progressive nor regressive, and yet can be interpreted as technical or symbolic. Article 75, which sets the number of MPs in the TBMM was revised from “550 seats” to “600 seats,” which has not been a central source of controversy for this referendum. Similarly, the proposed Article 76 revision would lower the minimum age to be elected to the TBMM from 25 to 18 years of age, which few see as a problem or have discussed extensively.
Nevertheless, the constitutional revisions would empower the president to such a level that the national legislature- would have virtually no control over the executive branch; the president’s authority on the legislation would be exaggerated with super-veto and presidential decree powers; the president would be able to appoint ministers and a large number of high court judges with no parliamentary approval; the national parliament would no longer have legal supervisory power over the president; and the president would be both partisan and represent the unity of the nation, which together gives the impression of a legalized “tyranny of majority.”
All in all, this revision package would mean an excessively empowered and partisan president with a very weak and executive-dependent separation of powers, and almost no checks and balances. This degree of centralist power is not completely welcome by all AKP supporters. For example, Elif Cakir, a pro-Erdogan journalist, suggested as an alternative that the constitutional revisions should be granted to Erdogan only temporarily and then permanently removed. Journalists from the conservative circles–including Etyen Mahcupyan, Fehmi Koru, and Ahmet Tasgetiren–have also expressed concerns about this system, confusion among the party base, their individual preferences for voting “no” in the referendum, as well as the possibility of a popular rejection of the proposed revisions in the April 16 referendum.
THE GAME-CHANGING STATUS OF THE NATIONALIST ACTION PARTY (MHP) AND DEVLET BAHCELI
The key political actor behind the partisan presidential referendum agenda is the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). The MHP’s predecessor, the Republican Peasants’ Nation Party (CKMP) was a Kemalist, right-wing, populist party that contested the elections during the 1960s under its original banner. After the election of Alparslan Turkes, a retired general, as party leader in 1965 and the party’s embrace of the Turkish-Islamic synthesis with Turkes’ Nine Lights Doctrine, the party’s name changed to MHP in 1969. Throughout the 1970s, the MHP acted more like a single-issue party, with the priority of fighting Communism, revolutionary youth groups, and left-wing political actors in Turkey. Though the left-wing revolutionaries of the 1970s often referred to the MHP and its entire cadre, including youth branches, as “fascists,” it is more appropriate to refer to this party as a member of the European radical right.
Three significant developments during the 1980s and 1990s had a major impact on the MHP. These included the 1980 coup in Turkey and the military junta years (1980-1983), the demise of the USSR and Communism (1989-1990), and the passing of Alparslan Turkes in 1997. The justification of the 1980 coup was political instability due to failed coalition governments and increasing street violence between left-wing and right-wing radicals, particularly among youth groups. Following the coup, the MHP was outlawed, to the dismay of its party activists, who believed they were not the enemies of the state. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism, in part, led the MHP to change its political course. As the Kurdish ethnic/regional actors emerged and violent clashes between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish armed forces escalated in the mid-1980s and onward, the MHP’s priority became defending the Turkish state from secessionism and Kurdish separatism. Yet with the passing of Turkes in 1997 and Devlet Bahceli becoming the new chair, the party once again took a new political route.
During Bahceli’s initial years, the MHP became more moderate. After the turbulent Refahyol coalition (1996-97), with an Islamist party as major partner for the first time in Turkey’s political history, and the subsequent military intervention (known in Turkey as the “February 28 process”), the MHP became part of a tripartite coalition with the center-left Democratic Left Party (DSP) and center-right Motherland Party (ANAP). Later, with the 2002 general elections, the MHP did not pass the threshold to make it into the national parliament. The party, however, made a comeback in the 2007 elections and has remained in the parliament since. Bahceli rejected the idea of a presidential system, as proposed by Erdogan and other AKP bureaucrats. Associating the presidential system with a more decentralized federalism, Bahceli speculated that the new constitution would lead to Turkey’s territorial separation. He also speculated that the presidential transition would help to cover up AKP corruption and enable Erdogan to concentrate all his powers and initiate a dictatorial system.
The June 7 and November 1, 2015, general elections had a major impact on the MHP’s political course and Bahceli’s rhetoric. The key game changer of June 7 elections was the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Turkey’s Kurdish left party. The HDP changed its election strategy of running as independent candidates and instead contested as a party, eventually receiving 13.1 percent of the national vote and 80 out of 550 national seats. This was a revolutionary development not only for the Kurdish left but for Turkey’s course of democracy as well. For the first time since 2002, the AKP did not win enough seats to form a single-party government. Nevertheless, neither Erdogan nor Bahceli welcomed this new reality–that the HDP may gain more legitimacy in a potential path to becoming a stronger and even mainstream political party. The CHP’s attempt to form a three-party (CHP-MHP-HDP) block against the AKP was doomed from the get-go, and all alternative coalition talks (i.e., for an AKP-CHP or AKP-MHP coalition) failed. Bahceli played a key role in the repeat elections held on November 1, 2015. These elections changed the political balance for all of the parties. The AKP restored its single-party government, while the HDP’s seats fell sharply–though it still remained above the 10 percent, with 10.7 percent of the national vote and 59 seats.
One major loser of the November 1 election was the MHP, which lost half its seats from June 7, ending up the fourth largest party after the HDP. In the meantime, Bahceli’s long-time opponents, Meral Aksener, Sinan Ogan, Umit Ozdag, and Koray Aydin, began openly opposing his position as party leader. The MHP’s demotion also played a role in the growing criticism of Bahceli. In the period that followed, the Bahceli-led MHP central headquarters and the united opposition block were in a constant power struggle.
The failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency was yet another game changer for Bahceli. Though his opponents called for an ordinary congress with an open, democratic contest for the party chair position, Bahceli consistently rejected this. Opinion polls among the party delegates and the MHP base showed Meral Aksener as a strong contender with the potential to unseat Bahceli. The failed coup attempt worked to the advantage of Bahceli in maintaining his position as party chair. The AKP government also helped Bahceli by making the job of his opponents even more difficult (i.e., preventing the assembly of opponents by barring meetings and sending police forces).
As Bahceli’s hold on power slipped away, he made a surprising U-turn on presidentialism. He criticized Erdogan for exceeding his legal authority as president, behaving in a partisan manner, engaging in political propaganda, and acting as the de facto chief executive. Bahceli added that should Erdogan continue in this fashion, a legal, de jure resolution would need to be made to address this. Following negotiations between the AKP and MHP, the national parliament, with Erdogan’s approval, declared that the entire constitutional revision package would be voted on in a referendum to take place on April 16, 2017. They named it not the “presidential system” (baskanlik sistemi) but the “partisan presidency system” (partili cumhurbaskani sistemi), with the term “presidency” as in the parliamentary system (cumhurbaskanligi instead of baskanlik). It was most likely reworded due to the polls showing low support rates for a full presidential system.
Meanwhile, Bahceli’s opponents in the MHP were organizing a campaign entitled, “Turkish Nationalists Say No” (Turk Milliyetcileri Hayir Diyor), with a joint declaration of their justifications as to their opposition to partisan presidentialism. Prominent figures such as Aksener and Ogan announced that each contender for the position of MHP chair would visit different provinces during the campaign season to speak out against the presidential transition. This split within the MHP will be examined further in the following section within the general context of the new, cross-cutting cleavage of presidential referendum in Turkey in 2017.
THE CROSS-CUTTING CLEAVAGE OF REFERENDUM POLITICS, 2017
The “yes” and “no” blocks have constituted an unprecedented fault line in Turkish politics. This political division has created unexpected solidarities, particularly among the far more diverse “no” block, with groups from both the Left and Right and even former foes becoming new allies. Ahmet Nesin, a well-known author and journalist, stated that he would be voting against the referendum along with the “PKK, HDP, CHP, SP, and the idealists,” a combination ranging from the armed radical left Kurdish militants to the extreme right-wing Turkish nationalists, like the idealists. Similarly, in a speech on Necmettin Erbakan Remembrance Day in February 2017, CHP chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu not only praised Erbakan but also emphasized his opposition to presidentialism. Table 1 below lists the legal political parties that have declared their yes/no vote as a party for the presidential referendum, with their primary ethnic compositions and ideological leanings.
|Table 1: The “Yes” and “No” Blocks in the 2017 Referendum
Party Primary ethnicity, ideology
Justice and Development Party (AKP)* Turkish, conservative, right-wing
Nationalist Action Party (MHP)** Turkish, nationalist, right-wing
Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) Kurdish, Islamist, right-wing
Grand Unity Party (BBP)** Turkish, nationalist, right-wing
Party Primary ethnicity, ideology
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Turkish, Kemalist/secular, left-wing
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kurdish, secular/progressive, left-wing
Felicity Party (SP) Turkish, Islamist, right-wing
Democrat Party (DP) Turkish, right-wing
Patriotic Party (VP) Turkish, nationalist
Rights and Equality Party (HEPAR) Turkish, nationalist
Labor Party (EMEP) Turkish-Kurdish, socialist, left-wing
*Even though the AKP is the most “yes” party, polls pointed to a number of undecided voters and “no” people in the party base.
**While the MHP officially declared its “yes” vote, several polls suggested that slightly more than half of the MHP voters leaned towards “no.” BBP was similarly divided into two camps.
The “yes” block is strong, but is for the most part limited to two major right-wing parties, the AKP and the circles closer to the existing MHP power-holders. The “no” block includes not only a segment of the AKP base and a greater chunk of the MHP base, but also a multicolored combination of left and right-wing political parties, including centrists and radicals, as well as the mainstream and the fringes. Like the HDP was prior to the June 7, 2015, general elections, the MHP became a key player preceding the April 16, 2017, presidential referendum. Several polls pointed to a divided MHP base, with more than half voting “no,” about a quarter voting “yes,” and the rest undecided. On the one hand, MHP’s Bahceli opponents–like Aksener and Ogan, and prominent Turkish nationalists on the “no” block, such as Yusuf Halacoglu–insisted that an overwhelming majority of the MHP base–roughly ninety percent–would say no in the referendum. On the other hand, Ali Carkoglu, a well-known political scientist at Koc University, predicted that contrary to the no-saying MHP figures’ expectations, the MHP’s base has become much closer to the AKP and Erdogan in period preceding the referendum. Therefore, Carkoglu expected a significant portion of the MHP voters to vote “yes” instead.
Proponents of the partisan presidential transition defended the newly proposed system by claiming it would provide political and government stability. In their “yes” propaganda, they lumped the “no” block together with unpopular and controversial groups like the PKK, Qandil, and FETO–the illegal Kurdish left and pro-Gulen groups–as well as the major left-wing opposition parties CHP and HDP. They often referred to the parliamentary system as a “double-headed system” because of the simultaneous existence of a president and a prime minister. By eliminating the institution of prime ministry and centralizing the executive authority under one person with extended legislative and judiciary powers, in their argument, the system would have greater political and governmental stability. In addition, there is common agreement that Erdogan fits this new status and authority, but of course, there is also the question as to what would happen after him.
In February 2017, HDP’s MP Garo Paylan, mentioned that the death penalty agenda was kept alive in order to avoid the potential verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights, since the victims of Bahceli and Erdogan would likely apply to the court for compensation. The CHP’s Akif Hamzacebi also sent a message to the AKP, pointing to a possibility that the same proposed constitutional system could apply to a “secular dictator” too. PM Yildirim commented, “The PKK says we’re finished if the referendum is approved,” which seemed nothing more than an exaggeration. It should be noted that nay-saying Turkish nationalists have used the counterstrategy, arguing that Ocalan, in fact, said “yes” to the referendum, (therefore, one must say “no” to it).
Rusen Cakir has stated that it was the AKP voters that would eventually decide on the outcome of the referendum. As this was a yes-no, all-or-nothing decision, the psychology of this referendum was different from that of earlier general and local elections. Faruk Acar, the director of the Andy-Ar Center for Social Research, stated, “If people align with their party identities in the referendum, the outcome will be a yes.” Considering the partisanship and polarization of the Turkish society, Acar’s prediction was quite credible. This is why the “no” block had to appeal to right-wing conservatives and voters closer to the AKP in the coming referendum. On the other hand, the “yes” block did not have the luxury of taking the “yes” outcome for granted because of the skeptics, nay-sayers, and the undecided among the AKP and MHP bases, as well as the June 7, 2015, election experience.
The referendum was eventually held on April 16, 2017, under the existing conditions of the state of emergency in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt. The outcome of the referendum came with a close vote and allegations of electoral fraud by the Supreme Electoral Council (Yuksek Secim Kurulu), the highest authority of elections in Turkey. The “yes” vote ended up with 51.4 percent of the national vote while the “no” vote remained at 48.6 percent. The campaign conditions were unequal and unjust with the AKP government in full charge of the use of all existing state resources for the “yes” campaign and the “no” block with restricted opportunities and personal resources. For this reason, several people on the “no” block regarded this short but almost equal outcome as an encouraging new start in their struggle against the AKP and Erdogan-led status quo in Turkey. The CHP was the main actor of the “no” block, but it was criticized for not having had the courage to defend the nay-sayers’ will efficiently, particularly on eve of the referendum. At the same time, the outcome was not a decisive victory for the pro-Erdogan group either, because a meaningful “yes” was often described as 55-60 percent of the votes, which did not happen. In the foreseeable short run, Turkey will be moving in Erdogan and Bahceli’s new political directions with an empowered executive presidency. However, in the medium to long run, the 48.6 percent shows the potential for a strong opposition bloc in the country. While the one and only power source of the “yes” bloc is Erdogan, what unites a diverse bloc of “no” is the common defense of the rule of law and parliamentary democracy. The future of this debate and institutional changes are yet to be seen. Several legal and political experts claim that the order of partisan presidency is not sustainable, which means that in the foreseeable future, democratic opposition groups and actors could have the opportunity to create a genuinely new and democratic constitution from scratch with separation of powers, the rule of law, protection of minority rights, and decentralization.
*Ödül Celep is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the International Relations department, Işık University, Istanbul. His research interests include political parties, radical right-wing politics, and Turkish politics.
 Serif Mardin, “Center-Periphery Relations: A Key to Turkish Politics?” Daedalus, Vol. 102, No. 1 (1973), pp. 169-90.
 S. Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan, Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives (New York: Free Press, 1967).
 Tolga Korkut, “The Problem Is the September 12 Authorities of the President” [Sorun Cumhurbaskanliginin 12 Eylul Yetkileri], Birgun, December 28, 2006.
 “Conspicuous Detail in Ozal’s Explanation of Presidentialism” [Ozal’in Baskanlik Aciklamasinda Dikkat Ceken Detay], Milliyet, January 18, 2017.
 Fehmi Koru, “Ozal and Demirel Wanted, Why Didn’t Mustafa Kemal Insist on Presidential System?” [Ozal ve Demirel Istemisti, Peki Mustafa Kemal Neden ‘Baskanlik Sistemi’ Israrinda Olmadi?], Fehmi Koru Diary, November 17, 2016.
 Official site of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, Comparative and Annotated Text of the Proposed Constitutional Revisions, http://anayasadegisikligi.barobirlik.org.tr/Anayasa_Degisikligi.aspx.
 Elif Cakir, “There Is One More Possibility” [Bir Ihtimal Daha Var], Karar, February 15, 2017.
 See Etyen Mahçupyan, “No Possibility in the Referendum” [Referandumda Hayir Ihtimali], Karar, December 27, 2016; “Fehmi Koru Announced His Referendum Decision” [Fehmi Koru Referandum Kararini Acikladı], Cumhuriyet, February 22, 2017; Ahmet Tasgetiren, “While Constructing a System” [Sistem Kurarken], Yeni Safak, January 8, 2017.
 Burak Arikan, “Turkish Ultra-Nationalists Under Review: A Study of the Nationalist Action Party,” Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2002), pp. 357-75.
 See “Devlet Bahceli’s Criticism of Presidential System #1” [“Devlet Bahçeli’nin başkanlık sistemi eleştirisi #1”], https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O4Z147GL-4. See also “Explanation on Presidentialism and the New Constitution from Bahceli [Bahceli’den ‘Baskanlik’ ve ‘Yeni Anayasa’ Aciklamasi], Cumhuriyet, March 9, 2016.
 Avrasya Opinion Poll found the following levels of support for the MHP contenders among the party’s voter base: Aksener (40.8 percent), Ogan (20.5 percent), Ozdag (17.8 percent), Bahceli (9.8 percent), and Aydin (9 percent). See “MHP Base Wants to See Aksener Party Chair” [MHP Tabani Aksener’i Genel Baskan Gormek Istiyor], Yurt, February 23, 2017.
 NTV, “Maneuvre of Presidentialism from Bahceli” [Bahceli’den Baskanlik Cikisi], October 11, 2016.
 Ahmet Nesin, “I Will Use the Same Vote with the PKK, HDP, CHP, SP and the Idealists” [PKK, HDP, CHP, SP ve Ulkuculerle Ayni Oyu Kullanacagim], Arti Gercek, February 21, 2017.
 “Kilicdaroglu Spoke at Erbakan Remembrance Program: I Put My Signature Under His Words” [Kilicdaroglu, Erbakan’i Anma Programinda Konustu: Sozlerinin Altina Imzami Atiyorum], Sol, February 26, 2017.
 The findings include the polling studies of Andy-Ar, Avrasya, and ANAR.
 “Nay-Saying Halacoglu: Why Form a New Party, Nine Percent Say No” [‘Hayir’ci MHP’li Halacoglu ‘Yeni Parti’yi Reddetti: Niye Kuralim, Yuzde 90 ‘Hayir’ Diyor], Diken, February 22, 2017.
 “With Ali Carkoglu on Turkish Constitutional Referendum,” Medyascope, February 25, 2017.
 “Paylan from HDP: Erdogan and Bahceli Committed So Many Crimes; Death Penalty Is Kept Alive to Leave ECHR” [HDP’li Paylan: Erdogan ve Bahceli Cok Fazla Suc Isledi; Idam AIHM’den Cikmak Icin Gundemde Tutuluyor], T24, February 26, 2017.
 “MP from CHP: AK Party Voters Might Support This System for Erdogan but They Can Be Exposed to a Secular Dictator Too!” [CHP’li vekil: AK Partililer Erdoğan için bu sistemi destekliyor olabilir ama laik diktatörle de tanışabilirler!], T24, February 19, 2017.
 “PM Yildirim: PKK Says We’re Finished If Yes Comes” [Basbakan Yildirim: PKK Evet Cikarsa Biz Bittik Diyor], CNN Turk, February 24, 2017.
 “Sinan Ogan: PKK, HDP and FETO Too Say Yes” [Sinan Ogan: PKK da HDP de FETO de Evet Diyor], Sozcu, February 7, 2017.
 “Rusen Cakir Comments: It Is AKP Electorate Who Will Decide on the Fate of the Referendum” [Rusen Cakir Yorumluyor: Referandumun Kaderini AKP Secmeni Belirleyecek], Medyascope, February 16, 2017.
 “Andy-Ar Director Acar: If Party Identities Prevail, the Outcome Will Be Yes” [Andy-Ar Direktoru Acar: Referandumda Parti Aidiyetlerinden Gidilirse Sonuc ‘Evet’ Olur], Diken, January 24, 2017.