ISTANBUL – “Turkish democracy is at a turning point,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced after winning a crucial vote in a referendum to change Turkey’s constitution. “We are sitting an important exam.”
Erdoğan is right, but it is he who must pass the test. If the plebiscite victory emboldens him and his allies to step up their tactics of judicial dirty tricks and media manipulation – used to great effect in recent years – the prospects for Turkey are bleak. The country will descend deeper into authoritarianism, political divisions will become irreconcilable, and yet another political rupture may become inevitable.