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Statement of Executive Board of DISK Referendum on of April 16:

The declared but unconfirmed result of the constitutional referendum, which aims establish a presidential regime instead of the current parliamentary democracy, points to new problems, tensions and deepening divisions for Turkey.

The yes and no vote table, which is almost half and half, indicates that the Turkey is divided into two. The social consensus necessary for the constitutional formation -the social accord is its basic character– has never been formed. It can be said that it is the weakest support so far given to a constitutional referendum in the history modern Turkey.

The objections and doubts about the final stage of the referendum process, the process of voting and counting are serious enough to change the results. Particularly, the law has been violated by the abolishing of the law on the provision of unsealed ballot papers by a decision taken in the last minute. Even if all the objections and doubts are left aside, it cannot be claimed that the emerging table provides the legitimacy for a fundamental constitutional amendment and which derail the parliamentary regime.

Since the beginning of the referendum process, DISK declared that “it is impossible to “make Turkey stronger” by a constitution, the half of the country say yes and the other half says no and even the big part of the country doesn’t know anything about the content of it; so on the contrary, this imposition will bring political instability, polarization and crisis.” As a result, it is not a victory or defeat, but unfortunately it means deepening polarization and weakening of the will co-existence peacefully.

The referendum results cannot be considered independently of the unfair, unequal, unlawful, manipulation-based campaign process. A campaign has been run, in which voters’ opportunities for getting information were removed, public resources used blatantly, public administrators showed their side openly contrary to law, and voting preferences of workers and public employees were dominated by all kind of pressures. It cannot be claimed that this referendum, which takes place in conditions while prisons filled with dissidents and under state of emergency conditions, reflects a healthy democratic process.

No one can show up the voting result as the result of an equal campaign. Instead of telling the 18 articles of the Constitution in the yes campaign that all governmental facilities were mobilized, a discourse of hostility towards the half of the citizens who says no was followed. Despite all these unfavourable and unequal conditions, the “no” campaign, which is carried out with the self-sacrifice, courage and solidarity spirit of the people, will have an important place in the history of democracy in Turkey and the world. DISK is honoured to be a part of the people’s “no” wish.

Since the very beginning, the constitutional amendment imposed to the society has not been related with the real agenda of the people, to real problems and demands of them. The real agendas of our people and the working class are unemployment, job security, increasing violence, work accidents, and livelihood. The presidential system can make no progress on these issues that concern a vast majority of society.

The concerns of millions of workers on the terms of severance pay are ongoing. The demands about being permanent staff of the subcontractor workers whose hopes are exploited for each election period still continue. Every day throughout the country, workers continue to lose their lives in job accidents.

In the process of the referendum, DISK, brought these real demands of the workers to the agenda and tried to organize the “NO of the Labour”. DİSK said “no” to the constitutional amendment because it is not a proposal to improve the economic, democratic rights of the unemployed, pensions, peasants, workers, public servants and students. History will show the correctness of this attitude maintained by DISK. From now on DISK will continue to fight for the future of the Turkey and its workers and will be the address of the rights struggles of all workers no matter how they use their votes. DISK will continue to say “no” to attacks on democracy and labour rights, oppression and injustice.

As being DISK, we congratulate our courageous people who give “no” in the referendum. Turkey needs a new constitution based on principles of human rights, democracy, rule of law, social state and equality. Such a constitution can only be made by social consensus. The right thing to do right now is to prepare a new constitution based on broad consensus, strengthening the parliamentary regime. It will be the right attitude to give up presidential imposition when there is still time.