Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum: A Conversation with Lisel Hintz (S. 5, Ep. 33)

On this week’s POMEPS Podcast, Marc Lynch speaks with Lisel Hintz about the significance of this weekend’s constitutional referendum in Turkey.

“The question: is how long will [Erdogan] stay in power? Right now, this could leave him in power up until 2029— possibly even longer, depending on some certain circumstances. We suspect that he’s probably grooming you know his son-in-law, who’s currently a minister, to to take his place. Will he be willing to give up those reins? We’ve seen successive purges of his own party from those who don’t agree with him. It is important to go back and understand the AKP’s trajectory, which was that not everyone agreed with Erdogan,” said Hintz. “It’s going to be fascinating to see— both from institutional and from a personal perspective— how Erdogan plans to continue this, particularly given that Turkey— from an economic standpoint— is in a very fragile state.”

“From an identity politics perspective— and also just sort of an institutional party politics perspective as well— not a whole lot has changed.” said Hintz. “I’m not really optimistic about a really strongly united opposition that can come forward and challenge the AKP.”

“[Erdogan] doesn’t have the coalition that he would like to enact some of the reforms he would like in the future. He has been courting the Nationalist Action Party, but only some of them supported the referendum. There was actually quite a big split.”

“What we know is that the AKP is probably going to do is push for the death penalty to be reinstated because that’s something that polls at about 65-70 percent across Turkey— and would really be able to rally up a lot of support for him. So I think he has channels to further consolidate the regime.”

Hintz is a visiting assistant professor in the Political Science Department at Barnard College, Columbia University. Next fall, she will be an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Music for this season’s podcast was created by Feras Arrabi. You can find more of his work on his Facebook and Instagram page.

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Read more from Hintz:

Turkey’s President Erdogan has gone to extremes to win Sunday’s referendum. Here’s why.

The Real Refugee Crisis is in the Middle East, not Europe

Opportunity Missed: Identity Alignment and Turkey’s Kurdish Question

Adding Insult to Injury: Vilification as Counter-Mobilization in Turkey’s Gezi Protests