Turkey’s prime minister has officially launched his ruling party’s campaign for a “yes” vote in a referendum on ushering a presidential system, which critics fear will concentrate too many powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Binali Yildirim formally got campaigning going on Saturday telling supporters in a sports arena that the proposed new system would build a strong Turkey capable of surmounting terror threats and make its economy more robust.


Yildirim said: “We are taking the first steps on the path of a future strong Turkey.”

The proposed reforms – to be voted on April 16 – will give the largely ceremonial presidency executive powers and abolish the office of the prime minister.


Opponents say the proposed system foresees too few checks and balances on Erdogan’s rule.