Turkey decides: everything you need to know about the poll

Our quick summary of the Turkish poll. What is happening and what does it mean to Turkey and the rest of the world?

Backdropped by a statue of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, left, a poster of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the upcoming referendum is seen in his hometown city of Rize, in the Black Sea region, Turkey. AP
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What are Turks voting on?

They will be asked to approve or reject a package of 18 amendments to their constitution that would implement an executive presidency with the president as head of state.

Why does this referendum matter?

Countries hold referendums all the time but changing the system that governs a state is a big deal. A “yes” vote would upend Turkey’s century-old link to parliamentary governance.

Isn’t Erdogan already in total control?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan casts a long shadow in every aspect except in the letter of the law. Under the current parliamentary system it is the prime minister who heads government and the parliament that passes laws – the president simply signs on the line. Should Turks vote “yes” on April 16, the president could single-handedly appoint ministers, appoint two-thirds of senior judges, dissolve parliament and declare a state of emergency.

Why are events in Turkey important to the international community?

In addition to being a Nato member, Turkey is the keystone to managing the migration crisis and the war in Syria. How Turkey is governed affects all these issues.

If the constitutional changes are approved, what then for Turkey?

Erdogan would be in a position to rule the state for two more five-year terms from the 2019 general election until 2029, with his dictatorial style of rule rubber-stamped by a majority of Turkish voters.