Turkish constitutional reform package passes, referendum looms
Turkey's parliament Friday passed a highly-contested constitutional reform package, which must now be approved by a national referendum, DPA reported.
The government-backed package passed with 336 votes in favour and 72 against.
Among the significant elements of the reform bill was an article restructuring the board that appoints judges.
An article that would have made it harder for Turkey's courts to shut down political parties was rejected by parliament.
The package was the subject of intense debate, with the opposition and members of the judiciary accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of introducing the reforms as a way of increasing its power.
Government officials rejected the claim, saying the reforms were part of Turkey's efforts to modernize and update its judiciary system in line with European standards.
Opposition parties have vowed to ask Turkey's highest court to review the reform package and block its implementation.