Turkish Nobel Laureate Pamuk supports constitutional referendum
Turkish Nobel Peace Laureate Orhan Pamuk has thrown his weight behind a September 12 referendum aimed at amending Turkey's constitution to strengthen parliament and civil rights, DPA reported.
Pamuk was quoted by the local media as saying he would vote in favour of the referendum, which has been proposed by the Islamic- conservative Justice and Development (AKP) party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He said he expected support for the referendum to go beyond that of traditional AKP voters.
The suggested changes to the constitution - which include greater authority for parliament and more limited powers for some public bodies mostly controlled by the opposition - had not found enough support in parliament and were therefore being put to a referendum.
The amendments, which are supported by Brussels, are also designed to pave the way for Turkey's accession to the European Union.
The referendum is opposed by the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), which was defeated in the 2007 parliamentary elections but remains locked in an ongoing power struggle with Erdogan's AKP.
The CHP continues to hold control over crucial sections of the judiciary and the military. It was set up in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who also established the Turkish republic.
The pro-Kurdish Party for Peace and Democracy (BDP) says it will only support the referendum if Erdogan significantly changes his current stance on the Kurds.