First Published: 2017-02-17

Turkey ruling party official steps down over 'civil war' warning
Ozan Erdem resigns after saying Turkey risks civil war if there is not 'yes' vote in referendum on giving Erdogan greater powers.
Middle East Online

Ozan Erdem

ANKARA - A senior regional official with Turkey's ruling party resigned Thursday after saying the country risked civil war if there was not a 'yes' vote in a referendum on giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater powers.

Turkey is to vote on April 16 on whether to approve changes in the constitution to create an executive presidency in the country that critics warn could lead to one-man rule.

But Ozan Erdem, deputy head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the western province of Manisa, this week warned that "if we don't get 50 percent... prepare yourself for civil war."

His comments were lambasted by the opposition but also troubled conservatives as tensions increase in Turkey's already polarised society ahead of the referendum.

Erdem resigned from his job on Thursday, while contending that "my comments were not presented in a way that reflected what I wanted to say."

The authorities say that the changes are needed to create more efficient governance and would bring Turkey into line with presidential systems like those in France or the United States.

But opponents fear the changes are a step on the way to an authoritarian system in the country and would inflame tensions in its diverse society.

Analysts predict that the referendum result could be tight, with many voters still undecided and the government preparing a huge campaign. Erdogan is due to kick off his rallies on Friday with a speech in the southern city of Kahramanmaras.

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour