ISTANBUL — The narrow win of the “yes” camp in Sunday's crucial constitutional amendment to change Turkey to a presidential system is a major victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP). Though final results are not yet certified, 51.3% of the more than 58 million Turkish voters (turnout of more than 84%) favored the sweeping package of changes.

The approval of the amendment package — which was backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and opposed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament — means an administrative shift will take place in 2019 if no early elections are held, Istanbul-based top daily Hürriyet reports.

erdogan referendum turkey hurriyet

Hürriyet, April 17, 2017

But, as Ali Kayalar wrote in Hürriyet, the tight win in the April 16 constitutional amendment referendum will raises as many questions as it answers for AKP. "The party lost its dominance in Turkey’s largest cities Istanbul and Ankara, falling far behind the sum total of 60.4 percent that it and its referendum ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) achieved in the most recent general election on Nov. 1, 2015."

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Protests by the opposition were expected Monday.

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