Turks back curbs on military, judiciary: Projections

Turks approved on Sunday divisive constitutional changes that reshape the judiciary and curb the military`s influence, media projections showed, handing the Islamist-rooted government a major victory.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 00:13 AM IST

Ankara: Turks approved on Sunday divisive
constitutional changes that reshape the judiciary and curb the
military`s influence, media projections showed, handing the
Islamist-rooted government a major victory.

With 70 per cent of the ballot boxes counted some 60 per
cent of Turkish voters approved the package of constitutional
amendments pushed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
his AKP party, NTV news channel reported.

CNN Turk news channel projected the final result at about
57 per cent.

Unrest had marred voting in some regions where militant
groups harassed and stoned fellow Kurds who rejected a boycott
call from the main Kurdish party and turned out to vote in the
referendum.

Police used truncheons and tear gas to disperse the
rioters and detained about 90 people in seven cities, Anatolia
news agency reported.

Erdogan said after casting his vote in Istanbul that the
referendum is "...an important breaking point for Turkish
democracy. We are passing through a very important test."

His ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the
moderate offshoot of a banned Islamist movement, insists the
reforms will bring EU-candidate Turkey closer to the
democratic norms of the 27-state bloc.

However, the opposition had urged Turks reject the
amendments, saying they masked the AKP`s quest for
authoritarian power.

PTI