Turkey's referendum unlikely to kickstart long-stalled reforms

By REUTERS
April 11, 2017 08:06
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Turkey's government says the passage of constitutional reforms on April 16 would make it easier to deliver on long-promised market reforms. But investors aren't so sure, seeing the possibility of more policy gridlock and further elections.

Turks go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether to change the constitution and create an executive presidency that would give President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers. The ruling AK Party says the referendum will allow it to speed up lawmaking and roll out a package of tax and investment reforms long sought by investors, particularly foreigners.

Once regarded as one of the world's most promising emerging markets, Turkey has been hammered by a sell-off in its lira currency on concerns about the erosion of institutions and Erdogan's tightening grip on power. Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in a crackdown that followed last year's failed coup.

The government has been on a push to win back confidence, but investors remain sceptical, saying sweeping structural reforms are necessary to boost productivity, liberalise the labour market and increase output of value-added exports.

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