A recent circular from a district director of Turkey’s Education Ministry asked principals to bring 50 students, three teachers and one administrator from every school in İstanbul’s Büyükçekmece district to a public rally scheduled to be held by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of an upcoming referendum on a constitutional reform package.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is going to address a public rally on March 27, 2017 in front of the district governor’s office. It is believed that it would be appropriate to attend the rally with 50 students, three teachers and one administrator from our schools at 2:30 p.m.,” Turgay Akyol, director of national education in Büyükçekmece, stated.
Turkey will hold a referendum on the reform package on April 16. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pushed through the legislation that President Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.
The reform will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.
The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms.